The honorary director of the LFF, Adrian Wooton, proudly introduced Saltwater director Conor MacPherson onto the stage before the film. Up the stairs bounded a tiny Irishman, whose first words were: “This is not a good film. In fact, when I look at it, I wonder what the fuck I was thinking!” He then concluded his speech, “I know it’s bad, but I know you’ll love it”.
So he’s got a sense of humour? His sell-out play The Weir would suggest the opposite; but then, this is not a play about a ghost. It’s a film about a man in debt, his sons (one of whom has become friendly with the worst kid at school), and a week in the life of a small Irish community.
And it’s very, very funny. It’s also rather good – no real leading characters make for a fantastic ensemble cast, and the whole film feels as though it’s a story based on spur-of-the-moment fantasies and dreams emerging from MacPherson’s head.
It might be small, but it’s got great imagination! Oh yes, and it’s a hybrid of tragedy, laugh-out-loud humour, gross toilet gags, eye-dabbing sadness and unconventional beauty. Perhaps its only let-down is a slightly overly-episodic feel between the moods, with no overall clear structure. At the end of the screening, Conor was asked, “Where did the idea come from?” to which he replied, “I thought of it”.
This is a Brit crowd-pleaser in the vein of Billy Elliot and The Full Monty, but it also retains an air of guesswork on the part of the audience as to WHAT THE FUCK WILL HAPPEN NEXT?