Last week I finally got to see “The Young Offenders” in the cinema, a film I’ve been dying to see since I heard about it. If you’re from Ireland this definitely won’t be the first you’re hearing about it – and if you’re not, this is definitely a bandwagon worth jumping on!
The film, which is based on a true story, follows two teenage boys who haven’t had the best education and upbringing, as they go on a wild goose chase when they hear that an abundance of cocaine has washed up on the shores of West Cork. As they are under 18, they realise that they will only be punished as “Young Offenders” rather than adult criminals, which is what prompts them to go off in search of the cocaine. On the way they interact with a variety of unusual characters, who both help and hinder them – with some hilarious results.
Be warned: The accent is strong. If you’re a Cork native it’s no bother to understand (baiis). If you’re from somewhere else, it might be a bit more work but it is absolutely worth it. The sense of humour is also quite Irish, but in this day and age our sense of humour has come closer to a more universal comedy through the internet. As well as that, seeing as the story is that of the unbreakable bond between two friends, this theme is relatable no matter where you live in the world.
While the dominating tone of the film is comedy, it also has a sadder undercurrent of social commentary about the background from which these characters come from. It is a reminder that people do live like this as we speak, and of the difference an education can make to people in this position. One line which particularly resonated with me was when it said that finding the cocaine was one of the teenagers’ “last chance” to “make something of himself” and get away from living with his father.
I absolutely can’t write this post without mentioning the soundtrack, in particular the song “Where’s Me Jumper” by the Sultans of Ping. According to the parents it was due a revival, and a revival it definitely got in this film. I came out of the cinema with that on repeat in my head, and the scene in which it’s played uses it absolutely brilliantly. (I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers!!)
“The Young Offenders” has been released at many film festivals, including festivals in London and at the Texas “Fantastic Film Fest”. I was surprised to hear that it’s doing quite well in Texas, once they get past the accent. Reviews from the Fantastic Film Fest have compared it to “Dumb and Dumber”, but with a more real relationship between the two boys. Hopefully it will do as well at the London Film Festivals.
One thing I found particularly hilarious when I went to see this film was how many people I actually know in it – more than I thought. It seems everyone in Cork’s cousin/uncle/brother is in it, which was another reason it made for extremely interesting viewing. As well as that I learned that the director, Peter Foott did the course I’m doing (Film and TV Production) which hopefully means good prospects for me. Seeing some very familiar locations such as The English Market on the big screen was also fab – Cork looked absolutely great!
The verdict? Go see this film. Bring your friends, bring your family. You won’t be disappointed.
Graham Norton sung its praises. You should too.
Watch the trailer here:
That’s All for Now,