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The Actors (15)



Review by: Katherine Kaminsky | Rating: One

Starring Dylan Moran and Sir Michael Caine, this comedy about two bad actors who con Dublin’s underworld, raises more eyebrows than laughs.

Tom (Moran) and O’Malley (Caine) are two frustrated actors appearing on stage in Dublin in an appalling production of ‘Richard III’. O’Malley has researched his role as villain, for Richard, by becoming acquainted with a dangerous criminal, Barreller (Michael Gambon), during which he discovers that Barreller owes a large debt to a notorious London gangster, known as Magnani, whom he has never met.

Taking advantage of this knowledge, O’Malley devises a scam to steal the cash.

With the help of his nine-year-old niece, Tom is persuaded by O’Malley to take on his most challenging role as an actor, and convince Barreller that he is a violent East End gangster, sent to Dublin by Magnani to collect the debt.

They appear to pull it off, but then the real gangster arrives for the money.

Riddled with guilt at having ripped off the not so bad Barreller and having fallen for his daughter, Dolores (Lena Headey), Tom creates more characters to protect Barreller’s family and to prevent his cover being blown.

This farce of mistaken identities reaches its peak when Magnani arrives in Dublin to retrieve the money in person.

Written and directed by Conor McPherson, the talented playwright who won countless awards for his excellent 1997 play, The Weir, The Actors was originally an idea from producer, Neil Jordan.

Along with an impressive cast, all of whom are more than capable of playing comic roles, and under the umbrella of ‘Company of Wolves Productions’, which produces hit after hit, I was really looking forward to seeing this film.

Actors dream of walking out of a humiliating audition far more often than cracking Hollywood, and that is exactly how this film starts - with Tom at a cattle market, casting for a sausage commercial.

But from this great start, the film becomes a missed opportunity, as, for a comedy, it is simply not that funny.

The situation is well set up, but the lines don’t deliver. There are very few memorable quotes and the wig falling off and being put back on the wrong way round gag has never made me laugh.

This is, however, a good vehicle for Moran, who gets to play lots of different parts, thereby revealing his talent as an impressive character actor.

Miranda Richardson and Michael Gambon are also excellent, but it is Caine who makes the film fun to watch as the bitter old ham.

The best moment finds O’Malley accepting an award, but the overall impression is that, had this come without the swearing, it would be a more fun film for children.


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