Redemption Of A Rogue

***1/2

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Redemption Of A Rogue
"Mixing very dark comedy with a distinctly Irish quirkiness, Redemption Of A Rogue will be altogether too much for some viewers, but if it works for you then it's likely to entertain you a good deal." | Photo: Courtesy of Glasgow Film Festival

Jimmy (Aaron Monaghan) has done a number of very bad things. We never know exactly what but we get a good number of hints. On his return to his hometown after several years of absence, his brother punches him in the face. His former girlfriend tells him never to set foot near her home. His ailing father, who can barely speak, makes every vocal effort to disown him none the less, and gets so overwrought in the process that he goes and dies. And that's just the beginning of it. The old man was dead set against being buried in the rain, so Jimmy and his brother have to wait for a dry day before they can hold the funeral. The moment their father croaks, it starts bucketing down, and shows no sign of stopping.

Ireland is a country that understands rain. It had an average rainfall of 1,224mm in 2018 and most meteorologists agree that, due to climate change, it's getting wetter. Nevertheless, the rain that falls on this particular town starts making the news, because it just doesn't stop. What initially seems like a bit of bad luck begins to take on a more sinister aspect. Has the town been cursed? If so, who is responsible? Gradually, eyes begin to turn in Jimmy's direction. If he can't stop the rain, he may have bigger problems than just a dead man in a freezer to deal with.

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Mixing very dark comedy with a distinctly Irish quirkiness, Redemption Of A Rogue will be altogether too much for some viewers, but if it works for you then it's likely to entertain you a good deal. Monaghan manages to make Jimmy both convincingly awful and rather endearing, making us root for his survival as he spends much of the film trying to kill himself, with even his religious upbringing providing little by way of discouragement. Along the way he meets Masha (Aisling O'Mara) who is also unpopular with the townsfolk due to being an outsider and, as she proudly attests, a slut. Her attempts to seduce him don't work out too well, as he hates sex along with every other aspect of life, but a bond nevertheless forms between the two of them and together they try to solve the mystery of the rain.

A roundabout way to look at depression and the real reasons people become cut off from their roots, this is a much smarter film than its often lowbrow humour would have you believe. The story meanders a bit but the characters carry it through, and it's full of great little surprises. The folkloric quality of the premise will work on your own superstitious bias just as it works on the townspeople, inviting you to look for solutions and to miss the bigger picture. Underneath all of the bitterness on display, there's something sweet.

Reviewed on: 28 Feb 2021
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A black comedy about a prodigal son returning to his hometown to seek salvation for his sins.

Director: Philip Doherty

Writer: Philip Doherty

Starring: Aaron Monaghan, Aisling O'Mara, Kieran Roche, Liz Fitzgibbon

Year: 2020

Runtime: 95 minutes

Country: Ireland

Festivals:

Glasgow 2021

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