Directed by Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn. Starring Rupert Grint, Robert Sheehan, Kimberley Nixon, James Nesbitt, Lalor Roddy, Kathy Kiera Clarke 16 cert, limited release, 86 min
HAS THE peace dividend been sufficiently generous to allow for a hip Belfast youth comedy? Is the North ready for its own Trainspotting?
The questions are left unanswered by Cherrybomb, which, though lively and plugged-in, is a bit too scrappy and disordered to qualify as a test case.
Fans of Rupert Grint (best of the Harry Potterthesps) and Robert Sheehan (curly-haired Adonis de nos jours) will find their heroes in fine fettle. Everybody else should approach with caution.
Young Michelle (Kimberley Nixon), who has just returned from the UK, is working in a leisure centre named – like virtually everything else in Belfast these days – after a certain HMS Titanic.
Two local lads take a fancy to the girl and find themselves caught up in an escalating war for her affections.
Malachy (Grint), a smart kid from a decent family, is drawn into uncharacteristic debauchery. Luke (Sheehan), a hipper class of youth, further blots an already fairly messy copybook. Parties rage out of control. Hormones do something similar. David Holmes’s score adds impressive shade and depth.
The film is certainly well performed. Grint is developing into a very decent character actor, and the uneasy frisson that surges when Ron Weasley unveils his naughty side increases the developing sense of transgressive inappropriateness.
Sheehan is not quite as nuanced a performer, but he makes up for his lack of flexibility by flinging oodles of charisma about the set.
Unfortunately, the longer the picture goes on, the more it becomes clear that we are missing any kind of serviceable plot.
There are similarities here with the recent The Scouting Book for Boys, but, whereas that film made a virtue of a late dramatic development, here the final conflagration seems forced and unearned.
Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn, the joint directors, certainly know how to work a camera. Cherrybombfeels, however, disappointingly half-formed. Titanic metaphors are hard to avoid.