5/5 MUST must see SEE
dir Jon Wright
scr Kevin Lehane
prd Tracy Brimm, Eduardo Levy, James Martin, Kate Myers, Martina Niland, Piers Tempest
with Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Russell Tovey, Lalor Roddy, David Pearse, Bronagh Gallagher, Pascal Scott, Clelia Murphy, Louis Dempsey, Micheal O'Gruagain, Ned Dennehy, Stuart Graham
release US Jan.12 sff, UK Jun.12 eiff
12/UK 1h34
Choose your weapon: Bradley, Coyle and Tovey

coyle bradley tovey
edinburgh film fest
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Grabbers A mash-up of a British rural comedy and a freaky monster movie, this riotously inventive Northern Irish film is one of the most entertaining romps in recent memory. It works cleverly on a range of levels to pull us in and send us on an outrageous adventure.

After a meteor crashes at sea, a tentacled creature creeps onto sleepy Erin Island, disturbing its pristine beauty with a series of inexplicable events. On the case are drunken cop O'Shea (Coyle) and his newly arrived partner Nolan (Bradley). And when Paddy (Roddy) catches something that's definitely not a squid, they show it to the local marine ecologist (Tovey), who announces that it's definitely not from earth. Soon the entire island is under siege, and the locals are going to have to come up with a clever plan to save the world.

Without ever dipping into parody, the film gleefully plays with the genres, populating the film with riotously funny characters and freak-out situations that seamlessly blend comedy, romance, sci-fi and horror. And director Wright plays it all dead straight, which makes it even more engaging, especially as the situations escalate into full-on craziness. The script is a witty mix of wry observations, sharp-edged banter and continual red herrings.

It also continually plays with cliches, from the ill-timed arrival of a massive storm to the selection of improvised weapons the locals have at their disposal. And the filmmakers have even more fun with the flirty interaction between the two likeable leads and the lovably goofy Tovey. This gives the actors the chance to create realistic characters even as things get ridiculously out of control around them. And the script lets them develop the various inter-relationships right into the chaotic final act.

Along the way, the filmmakers throw in so many clever twists and turns that we never stop laughing. The way the villagers protect themselves from the monsters is simply inspired. And as the alien assault escalates, the film becomes genuinely suspenseful too. In other words, it may be a madcap, crowd-pleasing action comedy, but it's also a fiercely well-written and performed movie that astutely captures local Irish culture.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 24.Jun.12 eiff

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© 2012 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall