This chucklesome black comedy is a little meandering and prone to repeat the same comedy beats ad infinitum, like having characters react with deadpan nonchalance to outrageous statements as if nothing’s too quirky in this small Irish town. For instance, the lead character, prodigal son Jimmy Cullen (Aaron Monaghan, very watchable) walks into an ironmonger’s and asks for a rope. The shop owner asks how thick a rope he wants, reels off the items of different diameter they stock. He asks Jimmy what he needs it for; when told it’s to commit suicide with, inserts a beat, a look straight in the eye and says: “Then I suggest you go for the 14 mill. It’s good and strong.”
Indeed, Redemption of a Rogue is basically a series of little setups and stings strung together by an overarching story that involves Jimmy’s inglorious return to his hometown to see his father (Hugh O’Brien) before he dies. When the abusive and not-much-missed old man dies, he stipulates in his will that Jimmy and his brother Damien (Kieran Roche) can’t inherit if they bury their father on a rainy day. Right on cue, the heavens open and it sluices down for days, long enough for Jimmy to start up an awkward flirtation with local drug dealer/chanteuse and self-styled “town slut” Masha (Aisling O’Mara). We also learn that Damien is in debt to some very nasty people. Eventually, the locals start to blame the Cullen brothers’ refusal to bury their father for the unceasing precipitation.
Writer-director Philip Doherty goes big on the self-satirising absurdism of a certain strain of Irish comedy (see Father Ted), which often blends the aforementioned bathos with lots of moaning about the weather, past political troubles, and devotion to Catholic iconography. Indeed, it’s hard not to giggle at the extended skit about Jimmy and Masha buying up a gift shop’s entire stock of Little Child of Prague statues, or the statue of Virgin Mary that comes to life at one point and asks for a roll-up. The crisp editing neatens the edges of the gags, while regular musical interludes add a pleasant aural texture.
• Redemption of a Rogue is released on 1 October in cinemas.