Whole Lotta Sole: Trouble brews in Belfast
by Boyd van Hoeij
26/04/2012 - The latest film by Belfast-born writer-director Terry George (Hotel Rwanda [trailer, film focus], Reservation Road), the comedy-drama Whole Lotta Sole, has premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival .
The film, produced by Generation Entertainment and with backing from Northern Island Screen and Invest NI, stars U.S. actor Brendan Fraser (pictured) as Joe Manguire, a man married into the Irish mob in Boston who escapes his impossible marriage – shown in a short but very illustrative prologue – by travelling to Belfast in Northern Ireland, where he temporarily takes over the antiques shop of his uncle.
Though initially life seems calm, things quickly change when several storylines come together, including one involving a desperate low-life, Jimbo (Martin McCann), who finds himself in such debt with a vicious gambling baron (David O’Hara) that the latter asks for the youngster’s baby as payment for his debts, leading him to commit a horrible crime.
After several plot twists, Joe finds himself a hostage of Jimbo in his own shop, and he’s not the only one, with the Ethiopian girl from across the street he fancies (Yaya DaCosta - pictured) and a couple of kids also involved.
Trying to resolve the messy situation – and this includes the messily constructed storylines as much as anything else – is the local police detective Weller (Colm Meaney), who feels the pressure of the authorities higher up but doesn’t want to give away the one case that promises to be vaguely exciting.
George, who also wrote the screenplay, is definitely working in a lighter register here than in Hotel Rwanda, with his current effort (the title is a reference to the name of a fishmonger’s) reminiscent of the similarly crime-themed comedy-drama Intermission, which was set in Ireland but also starred Meaney and featured several intersecting storylines.
Production values are alright, though the film lacks the finesse of George’s finer efforts, and the cast’s acting quality varies. That said, it has enough of a crowd-pleasing edge to penetrate several markets, though non-Anglophone markets will probably be more receptive.