John (Jack Reynor) is a taxi driver that applies his trade in the dreary, dark, bleak night time streets of Dublin Ireland. He does makes little money but enjoys spending time with his best mate Shane (Will Poulter) and visiting his mentally challenged younger brother Kit ( Harry Neagle). However John has another chore that occupies the rest of him time taking care of and tracking down and locating his alcoholic mother.
John returns home from a night of driving to a messy kitchen with dishes and bottles everywhere. He checks the bedroom to find his mother Jean (Toni Collette) passed out in bed with vomit splattered all over the pillow and sheets and appearing to have no vitals. He rushes her to hospital to learn that her liver can't take much more and he has to get her help.
Writer Director Gerard Barrett takes a different approach to the self-destructive alcoholic. In his feature Glassland, the alcoholic character occupies a small part of the plot. The focus is on the son John, the city of and Dublin and the Irish countryside play a bigger part in the presentation. The production also narrows in on shooting using natural light especially from or through windows which add to the blown out look of the film.
John realizing that he has to get his mother into a clinic takes whatever path available to collect money whether the action he is forced to complete is dubious. He even attempts to in a key scene in the film join in with his mothers activities leading her to lay out as plainly as possible why she is the way that she is and the reasons why she has not seen Kit for an extended period of time.
Jack Reynor is the centre of the film as John. He is in just about every scene and occupies many different roles in the production. He's happiest as a young guy hanging out with his best friend messing around. Later he is the catalyst for an important event for his pal Shane. He switches from son to friend to parent to partner for his mother Jean. He is also very supportive of his developmentally challenged brother Kit. Toni Collette is memorable in the small supporting role of Jean. She shines brightest in the exchange with John where they are drinking as peers. She lays out her reasons for her drinking and lack of feelings for her youngest son Kit in a clear, believable and detached manner.
Glassland approaches the devastating effects of alcoholism from a different angle. The production shows but does not dwell on the heavy negative aspects but instead focus on a sons struggle to do what he can to help a parent out of a deep hole. the film uses the natural elements of Dublin as a big factor to set the tone and mood. Its more on the serious side but not too emotionally craning to put it in the category of a hard watch.
*** Out of 4
Glassland | Gerard Barrett | Ireland | 2014 | 93 Minutes.
Tags: Alcoholism, Addiction, Disease, Dublin, Taxi Driver, Human Trafficking, Treatment Centre, Down Syndrome.