Review: ‘Mapmaker’

A pokey thriller steeped in the simmering sectarian conflict of an Irish border village, "Mapmaker" will need auds with both patience and political savvy to succeed even modestly. Pic is destined to lose its way after perfunctory fest dates, but could end up in modest ancillary lodgings.

A pokey thriller steeped in the simmering sectarian conflict of an Irish border village, “Mapmaker” will need auds with both patience and political savvy to succeed even modestly. Pic is destined to lose its way after perfunctory fest dates, but could end up in modest ancillary lodgings.

Thirty-three-year-old Richie Markey (Brian F. O’Byrne) is sent to the picturesque town of Rosveagh to survey burg for the local heritage committee. Ominously warned that “old wars are like old lovers, their ghosts hang around long after their guns have gone silent,” his only friend is a smart young boy (Oisin Kearney). His discovery of the years-old corpse of a man rumored to be an IRA informer stirs up old resentments and leads to a showdown with the sinister Robert (Brendan Coyle). As with helmer Johnny Gogan’s 1997 debut “The Last Bus Home” (which also starred O’Byrne), sophomore effort lacks character development and plot clarity — but it also is devoid of the scruffy energy that made the first film work on a purely emotional level. Tech credits are fine, particularly the lush lensing of d.p. Owen McPolin.

Mapmaker

Ireland-U.K.

Production

A Grand Pictures (Ireland)/Oil Factory Films (U.K.) production. (International sales: Postman Films, London.) Produced by Paul Donovan. Executive producer, Michael Garland. Directed, written by Johnny Gogan.

Crew

Camera (Kodak color), Owen McPolin; editor, Catherine Creed; music, Cathal Coughlan; production designer, Frank Conway; costume designer, Marie Tierney. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (World Cinema: Reflections of Our Time), Aug. 25, 2002. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Brian F. O'Byrne, Susan Lynch, Brendan Coyle, Ian McElhinney, Oisin Kearney.
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