Trojan Eddie review

It must have looked good on paper - a human interest drama produced by the good men and women at Channel Four Films(who are getting pretty good at this earthy, low-budget sort of thing), but this time it's centred in modern-day, rural Ireland, and with an undercurrent of shady goings-on, deception and murder. Gillies Mackinnon, responsible for last year's critically lauded Small Faces, handles the directing chores deftly, and the film stars big-time Irish regulars Stephen Rea and Richard Harris. Yes, everything in the Trojan Eddie garden looks positively rosy. So why do the words "botched" and "job" spring so nimbly to mind?

The basic plot, such as it is, holds some promise. Rea is "Trojan" Eddie, a down-on-his-luck market stall worker who has an uneasy relationship with his employer, John Power (Harris), the charismatic and powerful leader of a band of local travellers. Things start to go wrong when Power falls for and marries Kathleen (Aislin McGucklin), a young traveller girl. On the night of the wedding - and with the reluctant assistance of Eddie - Kathleen runs off with Power's nephew, taking the £11,000 dowry money with them. An understandably pissed-off Power sends his henchman on a mission to find the couple, at the same time casting a suspicious eye on our Ed.

The problem, then? Trojan Eddie is lumbered with such a slow narrative, such sketchy characterisation and so lifeless a script that, were it an ailing human being, you'd be checking for its pulse. Sadly, what could have been a powerful little drama ends up a near-non-event, much more suited to a 14" TV screen than a large silver one. Despite some decent performances - Harris is genuinely menacing - this is a gloomy and low-key production which, like the bird that swallowed the anvil, is completely incapable of getting off the ground. It fails to engage not only your emotions but, tragically, your interest.

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