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The hook to grab peoples’ attention with Staid was that it was made for a budget of €300. This was the production budget of €300 as it seems they had to spend about €6,000 fixing the sound according to Donald Clarke’s piece on the Irish Times website on Sunday. It also means you are asking most people to partake or offer their services for free, an unhealthy development of late in the Arts world.
The producers of the film Ted Moran and Mark Mahoney informed us before the screening about how the story was a play conceived and staged by director Paul O’Brien and that he had a desire to transfer it to the big screen. It revolves around the dramatic Irish stalwart: the pub. Our four main protagonists, Baby, Lar, Finn and Drillbit Duggan, come and go in each other’s lives through the pub as they settle old scores and try to figure out their place in the world.
Finn is a barman and part time singer songwriter who has his eye on pub landlady Baby (say in a Wexford accent). Baby is battling with depression and suicidal tendencies as she tries to move on from a bitter relationship breakup. Lar is a functioning alcoholic unable to come to terms with a family bereavement that he blames on Drillbit Duggan. So the film has more brooding drama than you can shake a stick at, yet none of it delivers.
The characters are wooden two-dimensional caricatures unable to evoke any sympathy or a real sense of desolation. Much of this is down to the unconvincing dialogue and unfamiliarity of being in front of a camera. Massive Irish social mores like alcoholism and depression are skirted around, never being fleshed out or examined in depth. The story is rushed and while largely set in the small confines of a pub it jumps constantly between story-lines. This gives a disjointed feel to the film which it never manages to resolve.
Embarking on the perilous journey of getting a film to see the light of day is no easy task and accomplishing this feat should be applauded. One hopes Paul O’Brien has learned from the experience and will continue to grow as a filmmaker.
Director Paul O’Brien
Cast Adrienne Myler, Phil Lyons, Paul Creane, Stephen Murphy
Script Paul O’Brien
Producers Paul O’Brien, Ted Moran, Mark Mahoney