4 out of 10
Release Date: 4th February 2016
Director: Stephen Bradley (Boy Eats Girl)
Cast: Deirdre O’Kane, Sarah Greene, Liam Cunningham, Brendan Coyle, Ruth Negga, Nhu Quyn Nguyen Linh, Mark Huberman, Kinh Quoc, Le Ngoc Tu’o’ng, Dat Khou Nguyen Tien, Gloria Cramer Curtis, David Mumeni and Pauline McLynn
Writer: Stephen Bradley
Now I want to make it clear, I love Ireland, I love Irish people, but I don’t like Irish films like Noble that are so Irish you feel like your going to die of Guinness poisoning with the cliched catawalling of Danny Boy is wringing in your ears as the road rise to meet you and the wind is at your craic. My god this film is soooooo Irish yet most of it is set in Vietnam, I know. How ‘Irish’ is that? It’s like the old Irish jokes we used to tell in the playground in the 1980s. Did you hear about the most Irishy movie ever made? They made it in Vietnam. Gurgle, gurgle….
Anyway Noble is based on the true-story of one Christina Noble, an average sort of girl from a torn family who got it into her head after seeing footage on the TV about the Vietnam War that she wanted to go on a mission from god to devote her life to caring for street children. And unended spectacularly unaverage… unlike the film. Average, average. AVERAGE!!! It would scream mediocre if averages ‘things’ actually screamed.
The film is split into present day and the past. We have a child Christina (GLORIA CRAMER CURTIS) who is all dark curls and Irish cute who bursts into song at the drop of a blarney stone, mainly Danny Boy. Her Da’ (LIAM CUNNINGHAM – LET US PREY) isn’t a bad sort, just an unreliable alcoholic who does a bunk leaving Noble to grow up with nuns lead by a tough Pauline McLynn (FATHER TED) doing a grand impression of Mrs Doyle from Father Ted dresssed as a nun. She grows into Sarah Greene (STANDBY) who moves to the UK, marries a horrible Turk and then turns into Deirdre O’Kane (KILLING BONO) who does the Vietnam bit of the tale. Angela’s Ashes this isn’t but it has a bloody good try at wringing every last cliche out of the Irish film playbook.
Battling odds you know she’s going to rocket past unhindered because of her cheeky Irish minx ways, you know you’re onto a film which plays it safe for audiences who like to know the plot of films before they watch them. The acting is fine across the board and the Vietnamese cast thoroughly match the Irish / English gang. As if to highlight the problems facing street kids and a few clunky side plots are welded into the story with scripted lines written in marker pen. Mainly, we have the friend-cum-secret-paedophile revealed near the end to put some snakes in the film’s boots but it ends up playing like a deleted scene from Eldorado. And is handled in an utterly cackhanded way.
Brendan Coyle (DOWNTON ABBEY) plays a generous business man / romantic potential but ultimately he’s defeated by this O’Kane’s cartoon cut-out do-gooder with a monotonous ‘vehicle reversing’ remix on a Dublin accent. I’d have read a book or watched a TV documentary with interest, this sort of film might fly on the Hallmark channel or at village halls in the Cotswolds but on the whole this sort of film shouldn’t need to be made anymore. There are enough quality feature length documentaries being made these days without having to endure such a laboured plod of a life-story like Noble.
4 out of 10 – Noble by name, Noble by nature. The film doesn’t do her life mission justice as it’s just made to look like unimaginative and self-serving. Sleep well. It’s all a bit too boring to do its bold subject any favours.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Deirdre O’Kane: The Messenger (2016), Moone Boy (TV), Killing Bono, Festival, Boy Eats Girl, Intermission, With or Without You
- Sarah Greene: Burnt, Penny Dreadful (TV), Standby
- Liam Cunningham: Pursuit (2016), Let Us Pray, Game of Thrones (TV), Dr Who (TV), The Numbers Station, Good Vibrations, Safe House, War Horse, The Guard, Centurion, Clash Of The Titans (201o), Harry Brown, Perrier’s Bounty, The Tournament, Blood- The Last Vampire, The Mummy 3, Hunger, The Escapist, The Wind That Shakes The Barley, The League Of Gentleman’s Apocalypse, Dog Soldiers, Jude, War Of The Buttons, A Little Princess, First Knight
- Brendan Coyle: Me Before You, Downton Abbey (TV), The Raven, Lark To Candelford Rise (TV), Perrier’s Bounty
- Ruth Negga: Warcraft, Preacher (TV), Iona, Agents of SHIELD (TV), Jimi, Misfits (TV), Isolation, Breakfast On Pluto
- Mark Huberman: Boy Eats Girl, Band of Brothers (TV)
- Pauline McLynn: Eastenders (TV), Shameless (TV), Heidi (2005), Gypo, Iris, An Everlasting Piece, The Most Fertile Man In Ireland, When Brendan Met Yrudy, Quills, Nora, Angela’s Ashes, Father Ted (TV)