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Perrierís Bounty

Bleak Irish Crime Comedy

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Itíd be great to say that this little Irish film is a home run but, sadly, it falls just short of the honor. Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later) stars as the classic guy in debt, and his time is up.

With biting comedy from the likes of Jim Broadbent (Hot Fuzz) and Brendan Gleason (In Bruges) the results should be better. The comedy is quite dark, but the film is not as clever as it fancies.

It begins like many crime films ó a slackerís debt is due but heís a bit short. This slacker, Michael McCrea (Cillian Murphy), attempts to evade the goons on his tale and picks up some complicated company along the way.

The first is Brenda, the cute neighbor who is obsessed with a jerk boyfriend whoís constantly cheating and leaving her on the curb. Sheís always hopeful the relationship will get better but itís Michaelís shoulder that she finds herself crying on night after night. After Brenda saves Michaelís life by shooting one of the cronies, mob boss Darren Perrier (Brendan Gleeson) is out for revenge.

Along with them is Michaelís father, Jim, who believes the Grim Reaper came to him and foretold his death. But before he can die he wants to tie up loose ends with his son. Soon the three are on the run from Perrier and his gang as they attempt to figure out a way to end the madness.

Similar in execution to In Bruges, with a touch of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, itís an elaborate crime story that is ultimately about its characters. And while Murphy is an excellent actor, his character just isnít that engaging. The film has moments of clarity, but itís unable to sustain it for long periods of time. It helps that a talent like Murphy, along with Broadbent and Gleeson, keep it feeling fresh.

Another Irish superstar, Gabriel Byrne, narrates as the Grim Reaper, providing the only part of the film that really distracts from the story. Since Byrneís narrator is a character himself, he inserts himself into the story and makes his own conclusions on whatís happening. Itís a way for the story to comment on itself and break the fourth wall. Instead, it comes across as arrogant and glib. Through Byrneís narrator, the film is telling the audience that it knows its clever, and no one likes a boaster.

Aside from the unnecessary narrator, the film is a minor success as a black crime comedy. It doesnít have the cohesiveness of In Bruges or the fun of Lock Stocks and Two Smoking Barrels but Murphy and his cohorts are able to keep it moving.