Review by: Katherine Kaminsky | Rating:
Starring Dylan Moran and Sir Michael Caine, this comedy about
two bad actors who con Dublins underworld, raises more eyebrows
Tom (Moran) and OMalley (Caine) are two frustrated actors
appearing on stage in Dublin in an appalling production of Richard
III. OMalley 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, OMalley devises a scam
to steal the cash.
With the help of his nine-year-old niece, Tom is persuaded by
OMalley 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 Barrellers 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 dont 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
Miranda Richardson and Michael Gambon are also excellent, but
it is Caine who makes the film fun to watch as the bitter old
The best moment finds OMalley accepting an award, but the
overall impression is that, had this come without the swearing,
it would be a more fun film for children.