The Last Right
Director: Aoife Crehan
Talent: Colm Meaney, Niamh Algar, Michiel Huisman, Brian Cox
Release: 6 December
New York based Daniel Murphy (Michiel Huisman) is returning to Cork, having heard that his mother has died. Flight bound, he sits next to Padraig (Jim Norton), an inquisitorial older man whose surname he shares with Daniel. Flying his brother’s corpse to Cork, Padraig writes Daniel down as his next of kin, a move which proves thorny when he fails to wake up from his sleep the next day. Burdened with two brothers to carry, Daniel has to wrestle burying one deceased family while trying to bring new life into his relationship with estranged relative Louis (Samuel Bottomley).
What starts as a dissertation of despair quickly turns into a love letter to halcyon comedies Local Hero and Gregory’s Girl. Focusing on the friendship/relationship/derisiveness Daniel and Louis share, a liturgical journey through the Irish hills brings the uncommonly different men closer together. Louis is autistic, a clever character device that dampens the friendship more convincingly. Some ham-fisted “Rain Man” jokes notwithstanding, director Aoife Crehan deals with the condition with surprisingly good taste, showcasing a character with both a laudable eye for photography and an impressive memento of historical facts. Then there’s Mary Sullivan (Niamh Algar), friend to both men, the rational voice Daniel and Louis communicate to each other. Taciturn in spirit, her spirit and fury rises as she tears through the critics who question their crusade on the gladiatorial Joe Duffy show. Hilarious.
Among them sits Daniel, the lowly American recognising his place in a country he abandoned and a family that counters him. Refreshingly, the film’s car journey focuses on the trio’s troubles getting to Northern Ireland, leaving the superlative Derry Girls to speak about The Troubles in Northern Ireland. And yet the scenery is worth the trouble, effortlessly upstaging the cast in all of its agrarian beauty. Seated beside a handcrafted coffin, the heroes find themselves genuinely affected by Rathlin Island’s enthralling beauty. They won’t be the only ones!
Words: Eoghan Lyng