Bloom Review

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Loosely ordered version of the Ulysses story with Dublin people representing the old characters.


Sean Walsh is a brave man if he thinks that, as a first-time producer-director, he can tackle James Joyce’s literary masterpiece Ulysses and come out on top. Closely intertwining the stories of Leopold Bloom (Stephen Rea) and Stephen Dedalus (Hugh O’Conor) as they wander around Dublin in 1904, Walsh cuts up Joyce’s carefully ordered chapters in favour of a canter through the novel’s themes of sex and death, fathers and sons. Only the ‘Nighttown’ sequence is entertainingly visualised; the rest, heavy with voiceover narration, is more like an abridged audio book with pictures. The result — regardless of the Irish Academy Awards it won back home in 2003 — is incomprehensible without a working knowledge of the novel, and inferior to Joseph Strick’s version from 1967.

The complex thrills of Joyce's book are almost wholly lost here - shame.