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Mainstream - Black Irish

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Black Irish
Francis Capra, Brendan Gleeson, Tom Guiry, Melissa Leo, Michael Rispoli
Director: Brad Gann
Rated: R
Echo Bridge Home Entertainment 2008

There have been worse movies made than Black Irish which is damning with faint praise a movie which ought to be neither seen nor heard. Every city in the world, practically every town as well, has a part of town that is tough and life is hard. In Boston that section of town is known as Southie – the most commonly affected accents of someone trying to pretend they are from Boston is a Southie accent.


Black Irish is a coming of age movie that drags before the viewing public every possible Boston – Irish – Southie cliché possibly imaginable. A sainted mother who is desperately trying to fashion a home and family that really is tight knit and caring. A pregnant Catholic teenager who wants to have an abortion so she can continue school. A troubled adolescent moving quickly down the path where he will either end up in the Winter Hill Gang, in the trunk of someone’s car or incarcerated. A boy in the midst of it all who is just starting to get his voice and is being railroaded into the cloth when he’d rather play baseball and get a little action on a date. A father who is essentially a drunken, unemployed, bully caps it all off.

In a well handled movie like Good Will Hunting the director and screen writer take us into the clichés and make them meaningful. Clichés are after all clichés because they are true so there is nothing inherently wrong in their employ as part of a script. When the movement, dialogue and attitude of every character are exactly to type there is no exploration only exposition of the obvious. Black Irish could probably have been a good story had it focused less on the character types and more on who they are rather than what they represent.

Give Black Irish a pass.

Denis Bernicky

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