29 May 2017



'You know it's a good tea-party when there's an unconscious Guard on the kitchen floor...!'

Ah Jaysis. The Cork accent goes right through my head like nails on a blackboard at a town meeting to discuss what's to be done about the killer shark that's been terrorising the small coastal town of Amity, a town that depends for its livelihood on its seasonal earnings. What a great opening sentence, haha.

But in all seriousness, I've never much cared for the Cork accent, unlike the nice posh sophisticated Dublin accent, which is where I'm from...! THE YOUNG OFFENDERS is full of Cork accents and- presumably- a few bona fide Cork people as well.

As a Dublin person, I probably wouldn't know what to do with one if I met one (I mean, I like them well enough but I couldn't eat a whole one, haha!), but there are certainly a few interesting characters in this film that I'd like you guys to meet.

It's the kind of film that would most likely be billed as 'side-splittingly funny' and it is, in places, but I find it really sad as well. Let me explain, dear readers. Gather round, and I'll tell ye a tale of two utter gobshites who headed off on a wild-goose-chase to tilt at windmills that weren't really there in the first place.

Ever heard of the real-life great cocaine seizure that went down off the Irish coast near Mizen Head in 2007? No. neither have I, but then I don't really move in those kind of circles. Anyway, it's the incident on which this Irish comedy is based.

A similar thing occurs in the film. A drug-trafficking boat spills its load of sixty-two bales of cocaine, see, and two young inner-city lads of about fifteen set off to the coast to see if they can locate the last missing bale of cocaine. (The rest have been found.)

It's worth about seven million quid and the lads, called Jock and Conor, are super-excited when they think about the difference that that kind of moolah could make to their shitty little lives. They could buy mansions and girls with tits and everything...!

The beauty of their plan is that they can't even be 'done' for the crime of pinching the cocaine as they're kids and will only be deemed 'young offenders,' thereby incurring only a slap on the wrist or a short stay in a juvenile detention centre. No bother at all to a couple of hard men like these...

What makes their lives so pathetic and desperate, anyway? Well, Conor's Dad is dead and his Mum works behind a fish counter every day. She's so knackered from being a single mum holding down a difficult job that she doesn't really take the time to either talk or listen properly to her son. As a result, their relationship is pretty crappy and they verbally abuse each other a lot, which is sad to see.

Jock probably has it even worse. His Mum is dead and his Dad is a full-blown alcoholic who hits Jock and steals his money to buy more booze, always more booze. It's no wonder, really, that Jock, never the sharpest tool in the box, thinks that seven million quid will change his rubbish life for the better. It's a fool's errand, though, and doomed from the start. Crime doesn't pay. Or does it...? No, it definitely doesn't!

The two lads set off to find the bale of cocaine, sporting matching tracksuits, awful shaved-at-the-sides-haircuts-that-leave-a-pineapple-of-hair-on-top and the kind of half-assed moustaches that are referred to here in Ireland as 'knacker 'taches...!' Don't give me a hard time, I'm just telling ye what they're called in this country, haha.

They're pursued on their way to the coast by a member of Ireland's Garda Siochana, by the way, because they've been fool enough to nick his bicycle for their road-trip. The Guard, having left a GPS tracking device on the bike, is able to follow the two eejits all the way across country on another bike. Where'd he get that other bike? We never find out...

These are two schoolboys so you can expect to hear a lot of schoolboy 'humour' in the film.
It's 'me balls' this and 'me bollocks' that and 'I need a wilder-poo,' which is apparently a Number Two that you do when you're in the wilderness. 

I didn't exactly wet myself laughing either when Conor put a choc-ice down his jocks to cool down his nether regions after they'd been over-heated by an intensive bike ride but then, schoolboy humour has never really been my forté. The scene where Conor's Mum catches him wanking in his bedroom is kind of hilarious though because it's so true to life.

One of Ireland's leading comedians, P.J. Gallagher, plays Ray, the new proud owner of the last bale of cocaine, the one that the two lads have set their sights on. I've heard him be really, really funny on the radio in the past but I just don't find him funny in this film at all.

I genuinely feel like the film-makers gave him a club-foot and a withered arm to get laughs out of the audience. It didn't work on me. I also didn't find the scenes where two women were shot with a nail-gun funny. God Almighty, what's funny about that?

I do like the farmer who saved the lads' butts from the copper who was tracking them, but it wasn't so nice when we found that he- the farmer- was actually taking a sad little stroll down Alzheimers' Avenue by way of Mental Illness Mews. I was actually kind of depressed at that bit.

The film is at its best when it's throwing around some genuinely funny one-liners like: 'You get raped in Juvie too. It's just that the rapists are younger.' And I enjoyed hearing the lads talking about Stephen Hawking, you know, 'the guy who invented the Universe and he's so smart that he can't walk or talk or anything.' There's a gag reel on the DVD that has the guys attempting to do the great scientists' robotic voice. That was pretty funny too.

The film was shot in Cork and along the cunning little tourist trap we Irish like to call 'The Wild Atlantic Way.' The coastal scenery there is just beautiful to look at. Oh, how ye gullible tourists love to photograph our little fishing-boats and our ancient little fishermen dressed in their cloth caps and heavy Aran geansais (pronounced 'ganzees.' It means jumpers or, as the Yanks would call 'em, sweaters!).

The tourists haven't a clue that we're only faking this twee 'Oirishness' for their benefit and to make a few quid on the side. The second they're gone, we whip out our laptops and smart-phones and go back to working in IT...!

The two lads, Jock and Conor, are nice. warm, loyal and lovable characters, in fairness. It's not their fault that their lives are so crap. All they want is to feel safe and loved and for someone to tell them that they're not screw-ups and mean it. Which of us doesn't want that?

Let's hope that they give up the search for that leprechaun with the pot of gold that doesn't exist and never has and make something of their lives. Some class of a government scheme might be the way forward for them both...

THE YOUNG OFFENDERS, complete with a behind-the-scenes featurette and the aforementioned gag-reel, is out now on special DVD release from VERTIGO RELEASING and SIGNATURE ENTERTAINMENT.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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