Finnegan On Films: Kerry Scenery Among The Stars Of ‘Joyride’

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Our movie guy, James Finnegan, gives his verdict on Joyride, the film shot in Kerry last summer which is now on general release…

I love odd couple, buddy stories with a feel good factor, a strong charisma between the cast and a script that has some humour as well as drama, together with quality performances, a good soundtrack, and cinematography collated by sensitive direction.

Joyride has these qualities in abundance with an additional factor.  It was conceived, written and filmed here in Tralee and other Kerry locations, written by local talent Ailbhe Keogan and directed by Emer Reynolds.

In the interests of full disclosure, I know and have worked with Ailbhe, and Emer directed one of my favourite ever documentaries, the award winning ‘The Farthest’.

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The premise of the film is that Joy (Olivia Colman) is a solicitor, approaching middle age, who gives birth after an unplanned pregnancy.  She plans to give the baby to her sister for adoption before heading to Lanzarote.

She and baby are sitting in the back of a taxi when it is hijacked by Mully (Charlie Reid) a 13 year old.  He has the cash proceeds of a benefit night for the hospice that cared for his mother before her passing, stolen by his father.

Olivia Colman (Joy) and Charlie Reid (Mully) in Joyride which is now on general release.

So these disparate characters are off on the road together, chased by Mully’s dad and the Gardai.

The taxi is abandoned, another car is stolen and they need to hitch a lift on a truck with a poignant festival character head.

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Mully’s life experience assists in feeding the baby and there are nods towards folklore with a robin – all in all everything you would expect from a road film, especially one filmed in this county.

The cinematography from James Mather is spectacular, showing the Kerry colours and scenery that we perhaps take too much for granted, and that Bord Failte could use to promote the county.

There are also local landmarks that are viewed with slightly changed perspective that only come from a fresh and different perspective, the glamour of showbiz and the cinema camera lens.

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There is a lovely score from Ray Harman that adds to the enjoyment of the film.

I bow to no one in my admiration of Olivia Colman as an actress and a person.  I had the privilege of working with her a few years back and there is no one with her range of comedy and drama.

She is a consummate professional at the top of her game, and her commitment to this project is a great compliment to her, the director and the writer.

The second high point is the performance of Charlie Reid as Mully.  The chemistry between him and an established multi-award winner is heart warming and spectacular given the difference in experience.  I look forward to future performances from this gifted young man.

The third high point is seeing people and places I know so well up on the big screen.  Congratulations to those who took part in this production.   I hope their experience enhances their appreciation of what goes on behind the scenes of a large scale production.

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