This spring The Black Donnellys, a "coming of age" network television series created by Paul Haggis about four Irish brothers in crime-infested Hell's Kitchen in New York, crashed and burned. Last fall, Black Irish, a "coming of age" film written and directed by Brad Gann about an Irish family in South Boston, premiered at the Hamptons film festival before playing festivals in Palm Springs, Dallas and Newport Beach. I watched half a dozen episodes of The Black Donnellys; though it looked slick, I never believed a moment I saw. It was too schematic and self-consciously tough.

On the other hand, I caught a screening of Black Irish at AFI Dallas and was caught off guard by the quality of the script. The actions of the individual members of the family make sense, you get a feeling for each one's personality and the narrative avoids certain cliches. (For example, when the teen boy starts a romance with a pretty girl, we think it's going to lead to something more, but it doesn't.) The dialogue is sharp and the performances very engaging, especially the lead role inhabited by Michael Angarano. So I was very glad to see indieWIRE report that Anywhere Road has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film and plans to release it this fall.

Anywhere Road is an independent distribution company based in San Francisco. Formed early this year, its first release appears to be the fine Brazilian musical drama Antonia, which I wrote about last month; it's due on August 17. Black Irish also stars Tom Guiry (who played a similar character in The Black Donnellys) and Emily VanCamp as siblings, and Brendan Gleason and Melisso Leo as parents. More information is available at the film's official site. And, in case you're wondering, "black irish" refers to dark-haired Caucasian persons of Irish descent, according to Wikipedia.
categories Movies, Cinematical