No Surrender (film)
|Directed by||Peter Smith|
|Produced by||Mamoun Hassan|
|Written by||Alan Bleasdale|
|Music by||Daryl Runswick|
|Edited by||Kevin Brownlow
|Distributed by||Circle Films US
Palace Pictures/Video UK
|Running time||100 min.|
The film is a black comedy, set in Liverpool on New Year's Eve. The plot focuses on the Irish Catholic and Protestant communities in the city, and the action is seen through the eyes of the manager of a ballroom (night-club for hire) in a rough working class area. The manager (Michael Angelis) is of Greek origin (which leads to some disparaging jokes about 'kebab and chips') and new to the job. He finds out that the previous manager has left a lunatic legacy; before coming to a grisly end, he arranged an elaborate joke on his organised crime employers. He has hired out the hall for New Year's Eve to several groups of senior citizens, including one hardline Irish Catholic Nationalists dressed in costume, one hardline Protestant Unionists and one of people suffering from mental retardation and senile dementia. As a coup de grace, he has also hired a skittish, incompetent magician, played by Elvis Costello, to perform. Bernard Hill plays the club doorman who is ex-French Foreign Legion. DJ Pete Price plays a comedian by the name of Frankie Diamond. The Catholics and Protestants recall their skirmishes and sing provocative songs to each other. The other main character is senior citizen Billy "the Beast" McCracken, a former Loyalist boxer and brawler (with darker deeds also hinted at), played by Ray McAnally. In the midst of all this arrives a Ulster Loyalist terrorist on the run (Mark Mulholland).
As the night unfolds, the absurdity of these decrepit pensioners reliving their conflicts plays out against the background of inept entertainers, to comical effect. More serious issues arise as the runaway terrorist threatens Billy the Beast's family. Despite its dark undercurrents and bleak setting, the film manages to be very funny and even life-affirming overall.
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