Damo and Ivor Review
“Damo and Ivor hits cinemas on St Patricks weekend, when a drunken romp of a film, replete with cast-iron Irish stereotypes, may well find a receptive audience.”
“Let’s burn some rubber, and find our brother!”
If you can handle hackneyed cliches such as these, and unapologetic stereotyping, then you may well enjoy “Damo and Ivor”.
On the positive side, it’s an Irish feature, and a comedy which we do need more of, albeit with humour of the lowest possible denominator.
Its great to see that Irish film is booming thanks to the talent and also a little help from the tax breaks, so generous that even Ripper Street, a film about an iconic east London serial killer, finds itself being made on the streets of Dublin rather than its natural home of east London, and we can only expect this to continue on the light of Brexit.
At the moment, we are seeing a focus on regional comedies where we laugh at ourselves and our stereotypes.
Cork has the Young Offenders, and the two dichotomies of Dublin, north and Southside, have Damo and Ivor.
Interestingly, Cork has only one stereotype which people attach to: the Northside, langer shouting, beamish drinking, tracksuited type.
The Cork southsider is as yet invisible.
While the Young Offenders peaked by produced a decent film followed by a somewhat disappointing TV series, despite the enthusiastic backing of BBC,
Damo and Ivor seems to be destined for the opposite: a relatively decent TV series which is certainly mindless comedy, leading to a film which unfortunately fails to deliver the goods.
This is a Quirke project through and through, where the Quirke name features heavily in the credits. The Quitke family made its fortune in slot machines and commands three of the most prestigious sites on Dublin’s O Connell Steet, including the old Carlton cinema, amongst many others.
So we are dealing with blue blood Dublin here, and the question is can the dynasty transition from wily entrepreneurship to a similar dominance of the entertainment scene?
Not, it seems, on the basis of this film.
You can’t fault the young Quirke for stretching himself to play three very disparate characters in this movie and he plays them well.
He shamelessly leaves it all wide open for a sequel which, like his father before him, hopes to make the punters coming back for more.
There are strong performances from Hanna Crowley and Rebecca Grimes who play Ivor and Damo’s girlfriends respectively. Though stereotypes themselves, they tend to ground the male characters a little and avoid overload.
All of the characters are stereotypes; the posh southsider, rougher Northsider and the traveler is yes, a bare knuckle fighter.
We have the heavily compromised Garda who finds himself romantically involved with a family member of a criminal, again the parallels with Young Offenders are striking.
The repeated attempts at shock value from the granny character is particularly grating. Ok; she’s a woman of a certain age who comes out with disgusting comments.
The plot is a basic road trip where everyone learns deep values along the way. Again, a little like the Young Offenders, though I wondered could they have used that film board funding for a bit more exposure of the beautiful Wicklow landscape en route.
The dichotomy twins are on a mission to find their brother. It’s a little vague as to whether they have attempted to find him before, but they track him down to yes, a bare knuckle fight in a car park.
Let’s just say that Pavee Point won’t be rushing forward to sponsor this.
You can’t expect anything but stereotypes here, it plays up to them all, with illegal car racing through the city, with Rebecca Grimes playing possible the last Grid Girl as this role is consigned to history.
Reviewed by Fergus Keane.
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