County Kilburn

on August 17, 2000 by Chris Wiegand
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   Elliot Hegarty's first feature film is a light-hearted comedy set in a pub in London's Irish community of Kilburn. Despite a charismatic central performance from Ciarin Mcmenamin and a lively soundtrack, "County Kilburn" diverts rather more than it entertains.

   Irish Barman Mickey (Mcmenamin) is days away from his 25th birthday and is frustrated with the way his life is going. Offered a job by his TV star brother, he has decided to return to Ireland after a final week's work at his pub. The film focuses on Mickey's last few days as he chats and drinks with regulars Black Jack (John Bowe), Eighties Billy (Simon Sherlock)--a man still obsessed with the music, clothes and cars of the 1980s--and aging lovebirds Torvill and Dean (Kay D'Arcy and Patrick Duggan). Mickey also has to deal with quintessential pub characters such as the bore who always talks about the weather and the workman who only ever comes in to use the washroom. The week passes in its usual way until a surprise visit from old school friend Sue (Georgia Mackenzie) forces Mickey to do some quick thinking about his future.

   Hegarty's script features many humorous observations, including some relentless jibes at Demi Moore's acting abilities, but his film suffers from one quirky character too many and comes across as rather too clichéd for its own good. Its predominant subject matters--Catholicism, sex and drinking--start to jar after a while, and you sometimes wish the characters would pipe down so you could listen to the pub's jukebox, which features an impressive selection of reggae, ska and indie as well as an unsurprising contribution--this is a film about Irish pubs after all--from Pogues' frontman Shane MacGowan.    Starring Ciaran Mcmenamin, Rick Warden, John Bowe and Simon Sherlock. Directed and written by Elliot Hegarty. Produced by Nick Heyworth. No distributor set. Comedy. Not yet rated. Running time: 82 min.

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