Jane | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Re: “Kings

Kings another view - It is possible that the major narrative of the twenty-first century will be that of immigration. With transnational movement becoming ever more common, the distances between us shrink both geographically and socially as every immigrant has a compelling individual story to share. Kings is the fertile ground where six of these stories take root, grow and intertwine. It is the first major bilingual (Irish Gaelic and English) Irish production. In the seventies, six ambitious and energetic young men – friends and relatives – left Ireland for London with an eye to making their fortunes and eventually returning home in a blaze of glory. Like so many before them, they found work in the construction industry, toiling to build the very cities that often remained cold and unwelcoming to them. When we meet the men, it is nearly thirty years after their arrival, and one of them has died under terrible circumstances. It is a deeply held tradition that they hold a wake for the passing of their friend, named Jackie. What makes this occasion even more tearful is that the friends haven't followed the path they originally had set out for themselves. They have not enjoyed the same fortunes or even returned to Ireland victoriously as planned. When they finally meet to honour Jackie, drink and sadness make it inevitable that some men will take up the grievances and disappointments of the past, all the while maintaining the illusion that they have a future. In tragic situations like these, nostalgia is particularly far from the cold, hard truth. In addition to sketching a fine sense of place, director Tom Collins elicits remarkable performances from each member of his strong cast, particularly the great Colm Meaney as Joe, a man who left behind his old Irish life for good, but at a heavy cost. These skillful actors capture all the complex and heart-rending subtleties of the immigrant experience. Through the bonds and misfires of male friendship, Kings sympathetically portrays a circle who never actually leave their homeland in either custom or commitment. Jane Schoettle - Toronto Film Festival

Posted by Jane on 01/18/2008 at 9:05 AM

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