‘Don’t go thinking all violence is from hateful men’.
Punch drunk ex-boxer Douglas played by Cosmo Jarvis (who gives a stellar performance), is living with guilt after accidenatally killing an opponant in the ring a few years back. He’s never been knocked out and gets approached by the Devers family to work as an enforcer. Beat up anyone who owes them a debt and keep the local town living in fear.
The Devers are a brutal crime family who promise to give him a good home and pay him for the work they expect him to do.
His friend Dympha (Barry Keoghan), constantly withholds money from him and forces him to snort cocaine. Douglas has been trying to make ends meet and his ex partner Ursula has decided to move to Cork for the sake of their special needs son Jack, who loves horses. She has managed to get Jack into a special needs school.
Douglas longs to be with her and spend time with their son, but the gangster family have him on a tight leash and are constantly bad-mouthing her to him. Douglas wants his son to ‘be normal’ and really struggles with the fact that he’s not.
One night during a Devers house party, something sinistar evolves and the family want the culprit to be punished. Douglas beats up the man in question Fannigan (brilliantly played by Liam Carney). It’s a really brutal scene to watch. Unfortunatly Paudi (Ned Dennehy – Uncle of Dympha) demands that Douglas kills Fannigan for to pay for his crime.
Douglas is forced to follow Fannigan after a night out, high on cocaine, and the acting in this scene above the rocks is fantastic as Fannigan pleads for his life.
A chain of events is set off when the Devers find out they have been lied to. The scenes that follow with a chase for survival in the Irish countryside is really tense and scary.
By the end scene, you really are gunning for Douglas to break free and build a better life for himself.
The film plays out in a realistic way and it grips you for the entirety.
Calm With Horses is an Irish drama which is intense, emotional, gripping and tragic.
If you enjoy great acting (especially during truely violent scenes) then this is a film for you. It is brutal and heartbreaking.
Calm With Horses opens this week. Click here for screening times.
Reviewed by Gemma Crossland.