Broken Law review – headbutt of a thriller about brothers on either side of the law | Film

Here is a lairy Dublin crime melodrama that launches a headbutt at you right out of the screen. Sometimes the punches land and sometimes they don’t. The storytelling is a little elliptical and there are a few EastEnders moments. But this picture from feature first-timer Paddy Slattery has loads of energy and belligerent moxie.

It is the time-honoured story of two brothers on either side of the law. Dave Connolly (Tristan Heanue) is an unmarried cop in his early 30s doing the boring traffic patrol, and wondering if he can ever afford to buy a place; he’s only just moved out of the family home where he’d been living with his widowed mum (Ally Ni Chiarain), who is still agonised by the memory of her late husband, a police officer who was killed in the line of duty.

But they are both more crucified by the thought of Dave’s brother Joe (Graham Earley) a criminal who has just got out of prison – without getting in touch with either of them. We see Joe saunter sheepishly from the prison gates up to his two fantastically dodgy mates Wallace (John Connors) and Pete (Ryan Lincoln) who are waiting for him; the impromptu coming-out party in Wallace’s car, involving plentiful strong lager and cocaine, utterly destroys whatever purpose Joe had of going straight.

Wallace has got a “job” in mind for his newly liberated friend And through a sickening lurch of fate, we see straight-laced would-be homeowner Dave queueing up in a building society where he is hoping for a loan – when three masked robbers with guns come crashing through the door. And whose faces are behind the masks? It is almost too coincidental to be true and when psychopathically violent Wallace feels himself cheated by Joe, he certainly feels something uncoincidental is going on and his cocaine-fuelled paranoia boils over.

There’s a nice performance from Gemma-Leah Devereux as Amia, the woman behind the counter on that fateful day at the building society whose life is to be entwined with the Connolly brothers; and Graham Earley and Tristan Heanue have some great brotherly chemistry as they get rashly stoned together in Dave’s flat and squabble about which of them first got into the work of singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey. This is a movie which rattles along with a certain propulsive power, though sometimes impeded by a marginally undigested plot-point about Joe and John’s dad. Some impressive work here from Slattery.

Source: The Guardian

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