User Reviews (13)

  • CoffeeSmoker13 February 2005
    10/10
    A perfect opening film for the Dublin Film Festival
    I found TMC to be a well made, well conceived piece, funny, touching, distressing (intentionally) and the tone was just right. Apparently there was a reel missing, I didn't notice, but am looking forward to see the final cut, hopefully there is more of Gillian is in it, as I felt she should have been used more in this film. She brings wonderful comic timing, and the expertly repressed emotional angst, which admirers of her work will have become accustomed to. With one look, her eyes tell more about her character's emotional state, than a thousand words uttered by any lesser actress. There is one scene in particular that this is apparent, when there is a close-up of Kate is looking in the mirror, psyching herself up for the day.

    Robert Carlyle gives a sensitive performance as ex-IRA member O. He could so easily have played the part as either someone shifty and not to be trusted, or gone the other way and played the martyr, luckily, the role was written very well, with no judgement either way of the political situation in Belfast, so the audience never feels they are having a political agenda shoved down their throat, we are just witnessing a slice of life as seen from the perspective of a young boy.

    Witch brings me to Tyronne McKenna, who steals the movie from underneath everyone else. An (as yet) unknown actor, he shows an remarkable emotional, without ever seeming insincere or overacted, not like other child actors who make you want to scream into a pillow! He is in most scenes of the film, and he carries the burden with aplomb.

    All in all, I was impressed by this film, a great way to open the Dublin Film Festival, and part of, what could be, a golden year for Irish cinema.
  • D_la8 September 2005
    7/10
    Well told film.
    The opening scene of this film makes sure we know who the bad-guy is, Good Joe, the greyhound trainer. We first meet him throwing a bag, full of what we are not certain but are given to understand that it is unwanted pups, into the lake. And he never really improves from that opening.

    The film is set in Northern Ireland, with the troubles serving to create a history for some of the characters, while others certainly don't want to see the Peace Process continue.

    The plot revolves around Donal, who persuades Good Joe to buy a certain greyhound, his mother, Kate, played by Gillian Anderson with a not terrible accent, and a recently returned ex-IRA man, O (Robert Carlyle). Donal names the dog after a comic book he seems to read all the time, The Mighty Celt. When the dog loses his first race he almost ends up in the water with the pups, but luckily Donal returns in time to save the dog from a hammer to the head. Donal bargains with Joe and they strike a deal that Donal will train Celt, and if he wins three races will gain ownership, he'll also have to work a lot longer hours with Joe's other dogs.

    But the film is more about the legacy of NI's violent past. Kate's brother was killed in 1991 while on "active service" and in the same incident O was shot and forced to flee his home. A fact commemorated in the film as it shows a memorial service, with murals, flag-waving and speeches. O returns in the course of the film, no longer a man of violence, yet never really apologetic for whatever it was he did. And it is Joe who embodies the violent tradition. Which of these two role models will have the greatest impact on Donal? There are some lovely humorous moments in this film, as well as a few shocking ones, and over all the film is quite enjoyable. It is low-key and never ott, and all the actors do good jobs. Anderson in particular is very different, and very good, in her role as a single mother.
  • jonosnogits10 February 2008
    8/10
    Well made film with real genuine quality.
    Warning: Spoilers
    Set in modern day Northern Ireland (2005) and revolves around a young lad (Tyrone McKenna) who works under the watchful eye of Greyhound dog owner (Ken Stott) in kennels and at racing tracks.

    A reasonably straight forward real life drama with no-nonsense attitude. It might possibly narrow it's audience due to the strong Irish accent, but this is one of the many important ingredients that make, what could be a very average film - really good.

    Some inspired British style camera work together with a Dub-Celt soundtrack really give this film it's feel. And it all seems plausible, but not predictable. What does work particularly well is how each character and sub plot seem carefully balanced with their own importance in the storyline, nothing is wasted or filling time.

    Natural performances from all the small cast and a surprisingly good combo of Carlyle & Anderson adds a close personal feel and keeps this story easy to contain.

    If you don't mind a bit of swearing and kids smoking then this film is great for all ages and generations.
  • timmy24212 January 2006
    8/10
    Chicago Girl Anderson Surprises!
    Warning: Spoilers
    I have been a fan of native Irish movies for some time now and recently stumbled upon this title while scanning the Sundance channel. For me, an American Celtophile, the title alone was worth a look. I was surprised and pleased with the movie overall, and was quite moved by this simple story of a boy's love and loss of a tawny winning greyhound who's name gives the film its title. The setting for this story is a still turbulent, post-war Northern Ireland where the effects of the country's troubles can still be seen. What was most interesting to me was the acting, which was quite good, especially McKenna's and Anderson's. Mostly, I was impressed that Anderson could actually pull off a passable accent. Admittedly, I am not from Ireland but I've heard enough Irish accents over the years to pick out a bad one. In fact, I first caught this film about 15 minutes into it and was stunned to see this excellent performance from an actress who looked an awful lot like Gillian Anderson. I'll have to keep an eye out for this girl, I said to myself. I wonder who she is? The only downside of this movie for me was that it seemed a bit short, like something was missing from the character or plot development. Other than that I thoroughly enjoyed this film and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves kids, dogs, coming of age tales, and an Irish sense of the dramatic.
  • northroc12 January 2006
    9/10
    Great film
    This film was great. I caught it on sun-dance. I couldn't stop watching it the flow of the film really is great ...and you just want to see what happens next. And that is what this film is about, "what happens next." Great. I don't really care for dog racing or anything but that's not really the point of the story or the real focus. It's just a device to move the characters across the board. But who cares? As long as you care about whats going on in the character's mind. Check it out if you can on Sundance or on disc if its available yet. It's a shame this movie hasn't received as much buzz as it deserves. Who knows, maybe it will eventually this year after being on the sun-dance channel.
  • catemh129 August 2005
    9/10
    Excellent performances from stellar cast!
    Warning: Spoilers
    This film is reminiscent of Ken Loach's "Kes" (1969) but without the 'grim up North' tone.

    The plot centres around Donal (Tyrone McKenna), a teenager who loves animals and enjoys helping Good Joe (Ken Stott) run his kennel full of greyhounds. He persuades Joe to buy a dog, who Donal is convinced is a winner and later names The Mighty Celt.

    Gillian Anderson is convincing as Donal's mother who is unsettled when her old flame, ex-IRA man O (Robert Carlyle) shows up and becomes friends with her son.

    The film is both tear-jerking and uplifting and the performances from the cast make for an excellent production.
  • danakate25021 September 2005
    9/10
    Kes becomes Celt!!
    After waiting a year for this movie (everyone on GAGC was waiting from pre-production onwards!), I must say that it was indeed worth the wait. The acting was superb (wee Tyrone McKenna was some discovery! Hope to see him in other productions!) and the accents virtually flawless considering that the main actors aren't even Northern Irish. I found this film to be engrossing and had to prevent myself from almost chanting "Go Celt!" during the greyhound-racing sequences! It's not often that you find a film you can't take your eyes off, but I'd definitely count this as one of them! This is a wee gem of a film and if you get a chance to see it on the big screen, GO FOR IT!!!
  • Mihnea the Pitbull21 April 2008
    10/10
    A honestly sentimental film
    Low budget indeed, but worked with intelligence, feeling and genuine talent. A sincere and clean view towards the relationship between dogs and humans.

    From the professional point of view, it's also entirely commendable. Well chosen and managed actors - the boy was surprisingly natural and expressive, and the trainer composed a credible and complex portrait. The director had the skill to build up very realistic tensions between the two leading characters, dramatically working up his way to the tragic peak of the dog's slaying - a scene that literally tears one's heart, and not by using cheap tricks!

    Not only the movie touches the deep soul of all the people who love, understand and respect animals, but is also depicts a honorable piece of good cinematic work. Congratulations - and thanks! :)
  • cowboy71uk29 August 2005
    10/10
    50 stars
    i grew upon the estate where some of the film was made it was good too see the old estate again the young lad is also a friend of one of my cousin's. i hope this is the start of many more good films by Pearse Elliot. as i think he has a good future ahead of him. the humour of Belfast was there. the acting was brilliant there is nothing more i can say expect too say too people please go and see this as this is the start of films that may put Northern Ireland on the map for making films as there are many good actors there who need jobs. my overall star rating is 50 because i love any thing that comes out of my own country.
  • pandabat29 August 2005
    6/10
    Solid enough low budget movie
    Gillian Anderson as a single mother from Northern Ireland. Never in my days of salivating over her in the X-Files (though not in a 'Tooms'-like fashion) did I think that I'd see her playing such a role in such a movie as this. It's basically a down to earth, straightforward story of a boy growing up in a nation that itself is only beginning to grow after 30 years of 'the Troubles' (a local war with Nationalist and Unionist terrorists along the lines of modern day Iraq but not half as brutal and deadly). The boy in question has an interest in and love for greyhounds which race for money, much as in horse racing. His relationships with the greyhound trainer that he's known for years and a new male influence in his life, who returns to Northern Ireland after being on the run for years, inevitably leads to conflict which ultimately leads to a simple resolution which is just a bit too clean and rushed in the final reels. There are no alarms and no surprises and everyone acts well enough. Despite the lack of deep thought, complicated plots, astounding cinematography, explosive special effects, etc. it's not bad though and neither is Anderson's accent. A time filler for an 84 minute gap in your life that you have little else to do with.
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