Waking Ned

Waking Ned


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The spirit of Whisky Galore has not evaporated, but lives on in this debut feature, about the reaction of an Irish village (pop: 52) to a lottery jackpot. The story has a simplicity, reminiscent of cinema's innocent years. You won't find a soft rock soundtrack, or gratuitious violence here. You will find nudity, however, but not the sort that sets young men on fire.

When Jackie (Ian Bannen) reads in the paper that someone in the village has won the lottery, he and his best friend, Michael (David Kelly), with occasional bursts of sensible advice from long-suffering wife, Annie (Fionnula Flanagan), make discreet inquiries, inevitably accompanied by food and drink - especially drink - so that they can be first in line when the lucky ticket holder relinquishes anonymity. Things are not entirely predictable. The winner is unable to claim the prize for reasons of mortality and so the old rascals initiate a fraud, involving the whole community, all of whom go along with it, except one, who wants a bigger slice.

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Essentially character driven, the film has a warmth and humour that encompasses everything from a pig farmer's unfumigated love life to a disgruntled old bat's right to refuse the bribery of cream biscuits. Bannen's wicked charm and Kelly's masterly timing make for a perfect match. In all the world, where else can breaking the law be such sweet delight? With his debut, writer/director Kirk Jones joins the ranks of Sandy Mackendrick and Bill Forsyth. It is a triumph for someone who cut his teeth on vodka and toothpaste commercials.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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A group of villagers hatch a plan to scoop a lottery prize after the winner dies of shock.
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Director: Kirk Jones

Writer: Kirk Jones

Starring: Ian Bannen, David Kelly, Fionnula Flanagan, Susan Lynch, James Nesbitt, Paul Vaughan, Adrian Robinson, Maura O'Malley, Robert Hickey, Paddy Ward, James Ryland

Year: 1998

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: UK/Ireland


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