Brief history lesson: in Eamon DeValera's founding 1937 constitution of this illustrious nation, there was a special place accorded to the Catholic ideal of the family, which, to maintain its neurotic sanctity, was linked to the Holy Family itself, resulting in a great deal of repression and marginalisation for those who did not fit this admirable ideal. This notion of family extended to society as a whole, where a series of male authority figures - priests, politicians, civil servants, teachers etc. - were surrogate fathers, while women stayed at home, breeding these giants.
In recent decades this homely image has been smeared as our father figures are revealed as paedophiles and criminals. The ideal of the family, linked to a tarnished Church, has come under pressure as a result. PINNED is the story of one such family. The film opens with the reassuring voice of Gay Byrne, icon of middle Ireland, introducing the Angelus, a residue from the Catholic years. THE GODFATHER-style, the solemn ritual intercuts two narratives, the shooting of a drug-dealer by two gangsters and a man shooting up at what seems like a kind of altar. Shooting/shooting up; drugs = new religion - you see?
One of the most common complaints about 'contemporary' 'Irish' 'cinema' is that it has exchanged one set of cliches (Oirish blarney, romantic countryside blahblah) for another (gritty urban 'realism', drugs, gangsters). I many be wrong, but I think PINNED may be a parody of the latter trend. The central parents, opening junkie and his ex-addict wife, are an hilarious send-up of this kind of hand-wringing claptrap, all risible anguish and dodgy thesping. The 'action' set-pieces are comically inept, the dialogue is a scrapbook of dusty platitudes, the snarling gangsters are marvellous caricatures.
As usual 'realism' is a very thin veneer for the most shameless melodrama. The religious overtones may be ironic, but there is definitely a (very Irish) attempt to sanctify the mammy. A 26-minute short co-funded by the national broadcaster (Lemass' beloved arm of government) cannot be expected to provide social or political context, but the recreation of Dublin's seedier environs is curiously threadbare, although the theft in the Powerscourt arcade (hive of 'sophisticated' bourgeoisie) is probably supposed to have an alarming frisson.
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