Great performances in ‘Swansong: The Story of Occi Byrne’

Great performances in ‘Swansong: The Story of Occi Byrne’

Director: Conor McDermottroe

Cast: Martin McCann, Jodie Whittaker, Owen Roe, Gerard McSorley

Cert: 15

McDermottroe has adapted his own stage play for the screen, with mixed results but with an ultimate plus sign to hang against it, thanks largely to the fine acting of the cast in all the roles.

Occi (McCann) is a mentally-unstable oddball, the sort of man who talks to himself, whose life has never trod the easy path: born to Bridget (Whittaker) out of wedlock and with his mother cast adrift by her disgraced father (McSorley).

When mother and son return to attempt a reconciliation they are given dubious shelter by a priest who forces a sexual price to be paid by Bridget.

It is a touching and emotional drama expanded, unnecessarily one feels, to include a promising romance between Occi and a fellow institute inmate that sidetracks the central theme.

But overall this is a gritty and moving look at the Ireland of the 1970s.

Star Rating: 3/5

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