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The Run of The Country Review

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A stern Garda sergeant is afraid to reveal his feelings to his rebellious teenage son after his wife dies, so the boy promptly runs away and gets a girl pregnant...

★★★★★

Albert Finney's first collaboration with director Peter Yates since 1983's Oscar-nominated The Dresser is a poignant and tragi-comic fable set in a small Irish village just south of the border with Northern Ireland.

Finney plays a stern Garda sergeant, afraid to reveal his feelings to his rebellious teenage son, Danny (Keesler), after his wife's sudden death. Danny, meanwhile, harbours a bitter resentment for him at the way he had treated his mother, and runs away from home with carefree best friend, Prunty (Anthony Brophy). Then, finally free of the old man, he meets the girl of his dreams (Smurfit). However when she falls pregnant, they're forced to face up to responsibilities neither of them can handle.

Adapted from his own novel by My left Foot co-author Shane Connaughton, this is a well focused if ever-so meandering study of the love-hate relationship between a father and son whose stubborn failure to understand each other's needs threatens the stability of both their lives. While the chief protagonists play out their interwoven dramas and angst-ridden dilemmas, the community is all too quick to offer it's harsh judgement. With the lush, green Irish countryside as a backdrop and a screenplay wisely avoiding too great an emphasis on the "troubles" (it's set before the ceasefire), this is a highly enjoyable romantic parable of doomed love and the pitfalls of coming-of-age which gently mocks the gulf between the generations while preaching tolerance as the only solution.

Highly enjoyable romantic parable of doomed love and the pitfalls of coming-of-age