Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Click here for a Sydney Film Festival sneak peek with Festival Director Nashen Moodley!x
review, Handsome Devil, Handsome, Devil, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Fionn O'Shea, Nicholas Galitzine, Andrew Scott, Moe Dunford, Michael McElhatton, Ardal O'Hanlon, Hugh O'Conor, Amy Huberman, Norma Sheahan, Stephen Hogan, John Butler, Comedy, Drama, Queer film rating

HANDSOME DEVIL

★★★★

A HELL OF A LESSON

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Charlie David Page
21st May 2017

How did you fare during your school days? Were you an jock, a nerd, a rebel? Were you one of the popular kids, or were you picked on? I was lucky - despite firmly falling into the outcast category, my class was small and we all got along relatively effortlessly. Yet for so many kids, your appearance determines how you are judged - and it could be argued that nothing much changes as you get older. The new Irish film 'Handsome Devil' deals with being different while growing up - and why there's nothing wrong with that.

Ned (Fionn O'Shea) is a loner at his all boys' boarding school, preferring to disappear inside 80s music rather than concern himself with the rugby team the school feverishly supports. His sole companion is teacher Mr Sherry (Andrew Scott, 'Sherlock', 'Pride') - that is, until he's forced to share a room with new boy Conor (Nicholas Galitzine), who also happens to be the new star of the football team. Standing for everything that Ned hates, it's hate at first sight towards Conor - until the boys discover they have more in common than first thought, and an unlikely friendship develops. But with Conor at the top of the food chain and Ned firmly at the bottom, how long will their association be allowed to last?

'HANDSOME DEVIL' TRAILER

Although the synopsis might not reveal it, this is actually a queer film - though not something that the film is defined by. It plays a part in alienating Ned - who is gay - from the rest of the boys, in addition to his quirkiness and dislike of sport. In essence, a boys-only boarding school acts as a microcosm, where homophobia is exacerbated by the apparent necessity to exert masculinity.

This is unquestionably a low-budget film, costing roughly AU$1.5 million, yet the money has been wisely spent. The cast are all exceptional, with the two virtually unknown leads giving solidly convincing performances. O'Shea makes his despondent black sheep entirely likeable, while Galitzine plays Conor as surprisingly quiet, yet with a captive anger. Scott as the inspirational 'Dead Poets Society'-esque English teacher manages not to go too over the top while waxing philosophical, and inevitably plays a much more integral role in the film than you might expect. Michael McElhatton (TV's 'The Fall' and 'Game Of Thrones') is commanding in the role of the headmaster, while Moe Dunford ('Vikings') plays a convincingly homophobic, footy-mad coach.

A boys-only boarding school acts as a microcosm, where homophobia is exacerbated by the apparent necessity to exert masculinity.

Similarly, the script from the film's writer/director John Butler is a solid piece of work. Dialog is minimised in the best possible way, avoiding cringeworthy clich├ęd lines in favour of simplicity, necessity and sincerity. Sure, there's nothing particularly unique about the plot, but the drama and comedy interwoven throughout the story is handled adeptly.

Where the film's low budget does become obvious is in its filmmaking techniques. With a few neat cinematic tricks up its sleeve, its downfall does come from its relatively bland naturalistic lighting and unsteady sound mixing.

The moral of 'Handsome Devil' is to use your own voice, rather than being someone else. Its devil-may-care attitude emphasises there's nothing wrong with being different, which is an important message in a world where such a high price is put on fitting in. Integrating issues such as sexuality and bullying into a feel-good story is a clever approach, and one which succeeds. While it might not have the gravitas of 'Weekend' or 'Holding The Man', 'Handsome Devil' still has an important message to impart, and does so with ample heart.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 25/05/2017
RUN TIME: 1h 35m
CAST: Fionn O'Shea
Nicholas Galitzine
Andrew Scott
Moe Dunford
Michael McElhatton
Ardal O'Hanlon
Hugh O'Conor
Amy Huberman
Norma Sheahan
Stephen Hogan
WRITER/DIRECTOR: John Butler
PRODUCERS: Rebecca O'Flanagan
Robert Walpole
SCORE: John McPhillips
HandsomeFilm
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Cranston Academy: Monster Zone - A fun-filled animated adventure for the whole family
TRENDINGWIN CRANSTON ACADEMY: MONSTER ZONEA fun-filled animated adventure for the whole family
Buckley's Chance - Take a chance on this Aussie fish-out-of-water story
TRENDINGWIN BUCKLEY'S CHANCETake a chance on this Aussie fish-out-of-water story
From the Vine - Finding your roots in your family
TRENDINGWIN FROM THE VINEFinding your roots in your family
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
Cosmic Sin - A film that delivers on the promise of its title
TRENDINGCOSMIC SINA film that delivers on the promise of its title
Green Lantern: 10th Anniversary - Failed Superheroes who got a second shot
TRENDINGGREEN LANTERN: 10TH ANNIVERSARYFailed Superheroes who got a second shot
King Otto - The world plans, and the Greek gods laugh
TRENDINGKING OTTOThe world plans, and the Greek gods laugh
Wet Woman in the Wind - A sexy struggle for conquest
TRENDINGWET WOMAN IN THE WINDA sexy struggle for conquest
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
Monty Python's Flying Circus: The Complete Series - Sketches at a revolution
TRENDINGMONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS: THE COMPLETE SERIESSketches at a revolution
Amazing Grace - An extraordinary document on the power of music
TRENDINGAMAZING GRACEAn extraordinary document on the power of music
River's Edge - The kids aren't alright
TRENDINGRIVER'S EDGEThe kids aren't alright
Breaking Bread - Why not <i>not</i> eat pigs together
TRENDINGBREAKING BREADWhy not not eat pigs together
In The Heights - A dazzling screen adaptation of the modern musical classic
TRENDINGIN THE HEIGHTSA dazzling screen adaptation of the modern musical classic
Atlantis: The Lost Empire - The lost Disney franchise 20 years on
TRENDINGATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIREThe lost Disney franchise 20 years on
The Trouble with Being Born - Controversial, unsettling and intelligent science-fiction
TRENDINGTHE TROUBLE WITH BEING BORNControversial, unsettling and intelligent science-fiction
David Byrne's American Utopia - One of the greatest concert films ever made
TRENDINGDAVID BYRNE'S AMERICAN UTOPIAOne of the greatest concert films ever made
Inseparable Bros - A heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
TRENDINGINSEPARABLE BROSA heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale - An extremely silly zomedy
TRENDINGTHE ODD FAMILY: ZOMBIE ON SALEAn extremely silly zomedy
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!