Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Handsome Devil

Handsome Devil (a.k.a. Piękny Drań), dir. John Butler, 2016 Ireland, 95 minutes 💖
Saturday, June 17, 1:30pm, Victoria Theatre
Tuesday, June 20, 9:15pm, Victoria Theatre
Ned (Fionn O’Shea) • Conor & Ned • Conor (Nicholas Galitzine)

Say it with me, now: “Go raibh maith flaithis do Bhord Scannan na hÉireann!”

I know nothing about rugby, and even after Were the World Mine, Holding the Man, and Handsome Devil, I’m still not terribly interested. But you don’t need to know the least bit about the game to love this wonderful coming-out/coming-of-age drama, set in, yes, a boys’ boarding school. Fionn O’Shea plays Ned, the school outcast for the simple fact that he doesn’t live and breathe rugby. Nicholas Galitzine plays Conor, a transfer student and star rugby player, who, of course, is assigned to share a dorm room with Ned. The literal and figurative walls between them slowly come down, revealing each boy as more complex than his façade.

The two young stars give impressive performances, helped by a strong supporting cast and a couple of better-known actors: Andrew Scott (Moriarty on the BBC’s Sherlock) as the English teacher, Michael McElhatton (Roose Bolton on Game of Thrones) as the headmaster, and Moe Dunford (Æþelwulf on the History Channel’s The Vikings) as the rugby coach. The basic outline of the plot is as well trodden as the hallways of an actual boarding school, but there are always new angles to explore, and I’m a sucker for an Irish accent. My only technical knock is an artifact in the screener that I hope got ironed out in the final version: at several points, the foley and other background sounds are inexplicably about twice as loud as they ought to be, relative to the dialogue. Any time you notice the foley, that’s not a good sign. Still, even if that glitch made it through the final edit, the characters and performances are more than enough to merit a MUST SEE.

IMDb pagetrailer 1trailer 2Amazon (DVD, stream rent/buy) • Twitter: @HandsomeFilm • official website [po polsku • in Polish, for some reason] •

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