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From Best to Worst – a Look Back at Irish Cinema in 2012


Irish cinema in 2012 was better than most years with Lenny Abrahamson’s What Richard Did leading the pack. Elsewhere Grabbers, a horror comedy that knew its genre, and Shadow Dancer, a strong take on loyalty and deceit from James Marsh also impressed us.

While the films below may have received funding from around the world, we feel they best represent the true sense of Irish cinema. Join us as we rank the most important Irish films of 2012 from best to worst.

What Irish films did you see this year? Let us know in the comments below.

What Ricard Did

Top of the Class… 1. What Richard Did

Lenny Abrahamson completes his Irish trilogy with a return to the capital, this time looking at the privileged middle class youth. A fantastic lead performance by Jack Reynor coupled with Lenny’s signature direction makes it unmissable.

Where can I see it? What Richard Did’s general release run in Irish cinemas is over but DVD and streaming options will become available in the new year. For now keep an eye on the official site and their facebook page for details of local and UK screenings.

Read our original review: Those Celtic cubs – ★★★★½


Shadow Dancer

2. Shadow Dancer

Who needs another film about the North? We do, so thinks James Marsh who has taken Tom Bradby’s novel as his starting point for Shadow Dancer. Andrea Riseborough must turn informer in order to protect her son and with this we are shown the lengths people will go to to uphold their values. A fantastic turn by Domhnall Gleeson sees him emerging from the shadow of his father and becoming one of Ireland’s greatest working actors.

Where can I see it? No streaming options at present but the DVD will be released January 13th 2013.



3. Grabbers

Alien-sucker-monster-type-yokes crash-land on an island off the coast of Ireland and when the inhabitants learn that the only way to survive is to get drunk, a lock-in is order. With great special effects and a comprehensive knowledge of the genre Grabbers is a welcome addition to the comedy horror genre.

Where can I see it? Grabbers is currently available in stores in Ireland and on the Element Pictures website.

Read our original review: Contains guards but thankfully not The Guard – ★★★½



4. Silence

Pat Collins meditative odyssey about sound (or the lack of) is a journey for Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde ultimately leading him home. Chronicling the beauty of the Irish landscape Collins explores our notion of home and how it never leaves us no matter how hard we might try to shake it off.

Where can I see it? Stream it on or buy the DVD in all specialist DVD locations like the IFI online store.

Read our original review: The sound of silence – ★★★



5. Dollhouse

Kirsten Sheridan’s claustrophobic feature follows a group of teenagers trying to get to the bottom of Jeannie’s secret. The ensemble cast work well together in this largely unscripted work and the sense of unease and menace is palpable. Owing a debt to the films of Larry Clark (Kids, Bully) Sheridan has given us a believable slice of the “untutored youth” with a fantastic score from Howie B.

Where can I see it? Dollhouse is on limited release around the country now.

Read our original review: What Jeannie Did – ★★★


Stella Days

6. Stella Days

A parochial look at Irish life in the 50’s sees Martin Sheen, an unfulfilled priest, going up against the hierarchy of the church in order to bring a slice of culture to his flock. Solid performances from Sheen and Stephen Rea aside the film never seems to catch fire and is too safe by half. Perfect viewing on a wet afternoon with your granny.

Where can I see it? The film is now out to buy and rent on DVD. Why not make a trip to your Xtra-Vision over Christmas and see what 2004 felt like.

Read our original review: Careful now – ★★


Death of a Superhero

7. Death of a Superhero

A look at the effects of being diagnosed with a terminal illness while at the same time trying to cope with all the trials and tribulations of being a teenager is actually more enjoyable than it sounds. Despite good performances from Thomas Brodie-Sangster and his shrink Andy Serkis, Superhero never quite gets to the heart of the matter and feels as if it missed an opportunity to seriously examine childhood cancer.

Where can I see it? The film just finished a short run in Irish cinemas but weirdly enough has been out on DVD in the US for some time.

Read our original review: Comic Book Guy – ★★½


The Other Side of Sleep

8. The Other Side of Sleep

Rebecca Daly’s first feature has brilliant elements that don’t quite add up to the sum of their parts. Focusing on Arelene (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) and how she has come to wake up in the forest beside a dead body, the film examines the concept of reality and fear of not being able to put the pieces back together. With fantastic visuals and focus on sound the story is ultimately lacking.

Where can I see it? No DVD or streaming options at the moment so keep an eye on the film’s facebook page for release info.

Read our review here: If trees could talk – ★★½


A kiss for Jed

9. A Kiss for Jed

The fact Mark O’Halloran stars in Maurice Linnane’s A Kiss for Jed should have been promising but even he can’t save the film. Following Orla (Jayne Wisener) as she tries to get a kiss with country and western star Jed Wood, we are presented with a twee, juvenile examination of the immaturities of youth. O’Halloran plays the sound man who must traipse after her, becoming more and more infuriated only to be won over in the end. Yawn.

Where can I see it? Once again no DVD or streaming options at present, so keep an eye on the film’s facebook page for release info.

Read our original review: A friendly peck on the cheek – ★★½


Charlie Cassanova

And bottom of the class… 10. Charlie Cassanova

Sigh. My thoughts and views on this “film” are pretty clear from the review, the worst Irish film for many a year. Avoid at all costs.

Where can I see it? No DVD or streaming options right now, bookmark to see when you can experience this for yourself.

Read our original review: Irish Cinema Hits Rock Bottom – Zero stars

Join us tomorrow as we continue our look back through 2012 with our BEST DOCUMENTARIES. Our films of the year will be revealed on Wednesday. Exciting stuff. Right?

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Páraic wanted to be a gangster as far back as he can remember. Brought up on a diet of films he was too young to be watching by his brothers, all things 80s teens thanks to his sisters and the classics by his folks he's turned into a well-rounded (maybe a little too round) film lover. Only recently discovering North by Northwest, he longs for a train journey with a beautiful blond.

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Can’t disagree with the number one on the list! Must hunt down Charlie Cassanova, sounds like a real classic.

Charlie Casanovaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhhhh! One of the people involved left a comment on my review requesting me to commit suicide. Classy!

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