[Screen It]


(1997) (Peter McDonald, Brendan Gleeson) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
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Mild Minor Minor None Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
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Drama/Comedy: A recently released, but naive convict and an older, short-tempered gangster are teamed together to find and return a crime boss' former associate.
Git Hynes (PETER MCDONALD) is a morally upright and unlikely convict who's just been released from prison for a crime he didn't commit. Discovering that his girlfriend has dumped him for his best buddy, Anto (DAVID WILMOT), things get worse for Git when he intervenes to save that friend who's about to be brutalized by some thugs.

It turns out they work for a Dublin crime boss by the name of Tom French (TONY DOYLE) who's not happy that Git has roughed up his henchmen. Suddenly indentured to French, Git reluctantly agrees to track down Frank Grogan (PETER CAFFREY), an old gangland associate of French's, and recover the twenty-five thousand pounds he owes French and then deliver Grogan to an unknown "friendly face." If Git succeeds, he'll be even with French and Anto will get to keep his fingers.

Just to be safe, French teams Git with one of his men, Bunny Kelly (BRENDAN GLEESON), an older, short-tempered, but near cuddly gangster, to look for Grogan. As Git and Bunny finally find and kidnap him, they not only discover that he's the world's most talkative hostage, but also that there's more to their assignment than they were initially led to believe.

Unless they're older teens and have heard some "buzz" about this picture, it's not very likely.
For pervasive strong language, some sexuality and violence.
  • PETER MCDONALD plays a man just released from prison (who took the rap for someone else's crime), who finds himself in debt to a crime boss after he roughs up his henchmen.
  • BRENDAN GLEESON plays an older gangster with a short temper and a penchant for stealing cars needed for their mission.
  • TONY DOYLE plays a ruthless Dublin crime boss.
  • PETER CAFFREY plays French's former gangland associate who's been having an affair with his wife and owes the gangster money.


    OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10
    A charming and talkatively witty picture, "I Went Down" has already become Ireland's biggest grossing domestic movie of all time. While it won't fare quite as well in the States, art house audiences looking for a smartly constructed movie that, yes, contains a shootout and car chase (proving that such an adjective can be confidently used with those elements), should be pleased by this little flick.

    Playwright and stage director Conor McPherson makes his screenwriting debut with this film. Although his script isn't as cleverly hip as the similarly based and constructed films that Quentin Tarantino writes and helms (the pop/cultural references are all but absent), its more human qualities make it accessible in a different, but still accomplished way. While the dialogue won't tease and tantalize audiences, it's interesting and just offbeat enough to make things worthwhile.

    Definitely a character-driven vehicle (much like the recent crime-based "Out of Sight), but with a bit more of a complex plot, the performers inhabiting the characters are anonymous enough not to bring any previous role baggage with them, thus giving the audience the feeling that they've stumbled across something fresh and original.

    The leads, played by Brendan Gleeson ("The Butcher Boy," "Braveheart") as the amusingly short- tempered gangster and Peter McDonald (who makes his feature film debut) as the convict who hasn't even been out of prison for a day before getting caught up in this mess, are thoroughly delightful to watch. Working from what's essentially a road movie about two opposites who've been paired together, the actors take that somewhat overused cinematic design and flesh out their characters into real, and quite funny personas.

    Bunny (the name itself evokes a chuckle considering the gruff and large character to whom it's attached) gets criminal performance anxiety when Git watches him, and easily but comically gets irritated at his criminal partner's naiveté. Git, on the other hand, and not being a true, hardened criminal (he did time for someone else's crime), wants to help Grogan and doesn't understand that the man may be bamboozling him.

    Supporting performances from Peter Caffrey (who's appeared in some UK TV series) and Tony Doyle ("Circle of Friends") are decent as well. While Doyle isn't given much latitude with which to work within his typical mob boss character, Caffrey is quite funny as the world's most talkative hostage -- a behavior that drives Bunny crazy and provides for a funny moment when the fellows have Grogan in the backseat and are momentarily stopped by the police.

    While the film never offers any hearty belly laughs, director Paddy Breathnach ("Ailsa") -- who makes his sophomore outing with this picture -- uses McPherson's script to elicit some rather humorous moments. For instance, upon covertly entering a house to retrieve Grogan from some gun-toting thugs, Bunny dons a traditional robbery ski-mask, but the one he gives Git has a completely open face. Not knowing any better, the novice criminal dons the incriminating disguise and looks quite silly sneaking through the home.

    Other moments, such as a tied up hostage accidentally dropping the remote control -- thus forever leaving the TV on a droll algebra lesson program -- are also quite funny, as is the fact that Bunny can't ever steal a reliable vehicle, thus resulting in a succession of less than worthy vehicles.

    While the film offers relatively nothing new to the criminal comedy caper, the characters are fresh enough and the Irish setting (complete with some occasional and unfortunately unintelligible accents) is different enough to give the film a novel feel. Featuring some fun characters who are inhabited by talented performers, and enough witty dialogue to liven up the proceedings, this is a decent, but certainly lightweight time at the movies. We give "I Went Down" a 6 out of 10.

    The movie contains extreme amounts of profanity (100 "f" words), as well as some sexually related talk. One sexually explicit scene does occur, and while short in duration it does include graphic movement, and some nudity and sexual sounds. Several people are shot and killed, and some of those and other injuries are rather bloody. Finally, the movie does show criminals and criminal behavior in a humorous fashion, so for those concerned with the message that such material may impart on their kids, now you know. Although it's doubtful many kids will want to see this film, you may want to take a closer look at the content should someone in your home have the desire to see it.

  • Git orders a beer, but doesn't drink it.
  • Git and Bunny have some sort of tropical cocktail while swimming in a pool.
  • Git and Bunny drink beer in a bar.
  • People drink champagne at a wedding.
  • Having just been roughed up by some thugs (not seen), Git walks out with a very bloody and broken nose. His shirt is also bloody, as are his hands that smear blood on their car. Later, Bunny "resets" Git's nose (with some "bone-cracking" sounds and more blood).
  • We see what looks like a bit of vomit on the side of Grogan's mouth.
  • We briefly see a TV show demonstrating a medical procedure where a surgeon hammers a rod into a person's leg (no blood).
  • The guys unearth a skeleton.
  • Some people who are shot have bloody bullet holes, while a man who's been grazed by a bullet has a bloody arm.
  • Nearly all of the characters are criminals and are thus involved in criminal activity during the film.
  • Git's girlfriend dumps him just before he gets out of prison because she's now seeing his best friend.
  • Bunny has stolen/steals several cars, and ties up a gas station attendant and steals some candy.
  • Bunny and Git take Grogan hostage and occasionally keep him in the trunk of their car.
  • French is a crime boss, orders his thugs to rough up Anton, and threatens/kills others.
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be tense to some viewers, but most are played more for comedy rather than for suspense.
  • Git walks in and sees French's men ready to hammer Anto's fingers (due to his debt to French) and he fights the two henchmen (partially and only briefly seen).
  • Git and Bunny, masked and guns drawn, slowly enter a house full of armed men who are holding Grogan hostage, but are now asleep (played for comic suspense).
  • Handguns/Shotguns: Carried by both the "good" and bad guys, and used to threaten, wound, or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • Phrases: "F*ck off," "For f*ck's sake," "Shut the f*ck up," "Hard on" and "Shag" (sexual), "Bitch" (toward women in general), "Bullocks," "Shut up," "Idiot," "Bastard(s)," "Morons" and "Faggot."
  • Bunny shows Git how a revolver works, and how to use the gun in a menacing fashion (played for laughs).
  • Bunny and Git occasionally make Grogan stay in the trunk of their car, and in one scene force another man into his own trunk and throw away the keys.
  • A woman makes Git squeeze her thumb with one hand, and then the other. She then laughingly tells him that she knows "what hand you wank (masturbate) with."
  • People who've been shot and killed are buried to get rid of the bodies and the evidence.
  • The guys suddenly unearth a skeleton.
  • A few scenes have just a bit of suspenseful music in them.
  • None.
  • Due to the occasionally thick Irish accents, the following should be considered a minimum.
  • At least 100 "f" words (3 used sexually as is the phrase "shag"), 9 "s" words, 6 slang terms for male genitals (the "d" word as well as "c*ck" and "pr*ck"), what sounded like 2 slang terms for female genitals ("tw*t" and "c*nt"), 1 slang term for breasts (the "t" word), 7 uses of the term "bullocks," 4 asses (2 used with "hole"), 1 hell, and 11 uses of "Jesus," 3 of "Oh Jesus," 2 each of "Swear to God" and "Jesus Christ" and 1 use of "For God's sakes" as exclamations.
  • Grogan states that he's been "f*cking" French's wife for several months, and then asks Git and Bunny, "Did you ever make love to a gangster's wife?" He then admits that "you can't really enjoy yourself" and mentions "...two consenting adults having intercourse."
  • A reference is made about a missing man and that he's probably sipping a cocktail while someone is probably "sucking his c*ck."
  • An on screen title card reads (among other things), "Some dancing and some sexual intercourse."
  • Bunny sketchily confesses to Git that he had sex with another male convict while in prison, but states "I'm not queer."
  • A woman makes Git squeeze her thumb with one hand, and then the other. She then laughingly tells him that she knows "what hand you wank (masturbate) with." Bunny later does this to Grogan, who knows the "punch line" and then repeatedly runs his hand up and down over Bunny's thumb (suggesting masturbation).
  • Standing at a urinal, Bunny looks over at Git (who's been flirting with a woman at a bar) and says, "You're getting a hard on there. It's kind of big for a man your age."
  • In a hotel room, Git takes his shirt off and does the same for a woman (and we see her in her bra). We then see her on top of him having sex (for less than 30 seconds, but with lots of movement, some sounds, and views of her bare breasts. Later as they lie in bed, we see her bare breasts again.
  • We see Bunny wake up in bed with someone, but don't see who they are (and don't see any nudity).
  • We see Grogan's bare butt (from above) as he's forced out of a bathtub.
  • At the end a person asks (did they) "suck your c*ck."
  • Git smokes throughout the movie, while Bunny smokes a few less times.
  • French and Grogan briefly smoke both cigars and cigarettes, while a host of other characters also smoke.
  • Bunny's wife won't talk to him in person or on the phone.
  • That life as a criminal usually doesn't pay off in the end or is as funny as this movie presents it.
  • Most of the following is played with an overall comic tone.
  • Git walks in and sees French's men ready to hammer Anto's fingers (due to his debt to French) and he fights the two henchmen. We see him hit one of them twice, while the other breaks a bottle but is the one who loses his eye (not seen -- although we later see that man with an eye patch and the other with his arm in a sling).
  • Although not seen, some thugs break Git's nose, resulting in a lot of bleeding (and Bunny has to "reset" it with some "bone-cracking" sounds).
  • Git and Bunny, masked and guns drawn, slowly enter a house full of armed men who are holding Grogan hostage, but are now asleep. Bunny hits one of them on the head to make sure he doesn't wake up. As they leave with Grogan, Bunny fires back at the men inside the house who shoot back, but no one is hit.
  • A man holds a gun on Git and Grogan (and even presses it to their heads). Bunny then shows up and aims his gun at that man.
  • Bunny knocks down a bathroom door.
  • Being chased by another car, Git fires his gun into the air to scare them away. One of the men in that car, however, fires a shotgun that blows out the back window of Git and Bunny's car. Git then fires his gun at them, shattering their windshield and causing them to wreck.
  • A man is shot and killed in a flashback.
  • Two more men are shot and killed and another is grazed on the arm by a bullet.

  • Reviewed June 30, 1998

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