Review: ‘Exiled’

Taut IRA thriller set in Queens, N.Y., is a solid effort that lifts the lid on underground activities far more authentically than a number of bigger-budget pics have managed. Startlingly downbeat ending may be off-putting to some, but pic doesn't pull punches in conveying the hard lessons of paramilitary involvement. Bill Muir's directing debut is marked by strong pacing and good performances, and though the film occasionally resorts to too-convenient shortcuts, its portrait of a subculture rings true. Pic looks unlikely to break out of fest circuit, but should open doors for talent on both sides of the lens.

Taut IRA thriller set in Queens, N.Y., is a solid effort that lifts the lid on underground activities far more authentically than a number of bigger-budget pics have managed. Startlingly downbeat ending may be off-putting to some, but pic doesn’t pull punches in conveying the hard lessons of paramilitary involvement. Bill Muir’s directing debut is marked by strong pacing and good performances, and though the film occasionally resorts to too-convenient shortcuts, its portrait of a subculture rings true. Pic looks unlikely to break out of fest circuit, but should open doors for talent on both sides of the lens.

In 1991, when tension in Northern Ireland is at breaking point, Brendan (Paul Ronan) emigrates to Gotham to stay with his cousin Sean (co-scripter Ronan Carr) , only to find himself the reluctant accomplice in a gun-running operation. Sean is involved with an IRA cabal, which includes loose cannons Paul (Paul Clarke) and Mickey (Mickey McGloine, frighteningly authentic). Problems ensue when Brendan gets involved with Paul’s long-suffering wife (Jenny Conroy). Romantic element proceeds awkwardly, but story overall is well constructed, with dialogue sharp and humorous. Ronan is standout among a strong cast.

Exiled

(THRILLER -- U.S.-IRISH)

Production

A Gaelic Artists Prods. presentation of a Bill Muir Film. Produced by Brian Tucker, Bill Muir, Janice Kambara. Directed by Bill Muir. Screenplay, Muir, Ronan Carr. Camera (color), Wellington Lee; editor, Yun Shin, Brian Tucker; music, Cian Boylan; production designer, Chandra Moeller; casting, Joanna Sykes.

With

Cast: Paul Ronan, Ronan Carr, Jenny Conroy, Paul Anthony McGraine, Paul Clarke, John Marnell, Mickey McGloine, Emma Stafford, Brian D'arcy James. Reviewed at Galway Film Festival, July 8, 1999. Running time: 88 MIN.
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