The Pier


Directed by Gerard Hurley. Starring Karl Johnson, Gerard Hurley, Lili Taylor, Mary Foskett 15A cert, IFI, Dublin; Listowel Classic, Kerry, 83 min

FOLLOWING A successful screening at last year’s Galway Film Fleadh, Gerard Butler’s pleasant, low-key drama gets a deserved outing at selected cinemas. The Piertells a common story in Irish literature and film: a returning emigrant confronts what has changed and what has remained the same.

The director plays Jack, a man who, told his father is dying, travels from New York to Cork to discover the old codger (Karl Johnson) looking a little healthier than expected. An amusing, touching battle of wills then develops. In between the familial squabbles, Jack engages in a tentative romance with a visiting American, played by an unexpected Lili Taylor.

In truth, there isn’t a great deal here we haven’t seen before. The old man represents an older, craggier Ireland. Jack stands in

for the generation that yearns to break free. Taylor offers a smidgeon of Hollywood – or at least high-end American indie – glamour. But The Pieris so beautifully played by its committed cast that it proves hard to resist. The scenery is lovely. The dialogue never hits a bum note. And the eventual reconciliation does not feel in any way forced.

A small gem.