I Went Down

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I Went Down
I Went Down FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Paddy Breathnach
Written by Conor McPherson
Starring Peter McDonald
Brendan Gleeson
Music by Dario Marianelli
Cinematography Cian de Buitléar
Edited by Emer Reynolds
Distributed by BBC Films
Release date
June 24, 1998 (1998-06-24)
Running time
107 minutes
Country Ireland
Language English

I Went Down is an Irish comedy crime film by director Paddy Breathnach released 3 October 1997.

Plot[edit]

After serving an eight month sentence for breaking and entering, Git Hynes, (Peter McDonald) walks into trouble on the day of his release from jail.

He goes to meet his ex-girlfriend Sabrina Bradley, (Antoine Byrne), who has dumped him for his best friend Anto (David Wilmot). When Git goes to confront Anto about this, he learns that the latter's gambling addiction has left him heavily in debt to the bookies, who are about to take his fingers as collateral. Git jumps in and saves his friend from a beating, but uses a broken bottle to permanently disfigure the ringleader, who happens to be the nephew of mob boss, Tom French (Tony Doyle).

At a sit-down, Tom French decrees that Git must work off Anto's debt as punishment for his interference. He is ordered to drive to Cork to find French's associate Frank Grogan (Peter Caffrey), and bring him back to Dublin. Holding Anto as a hostage, French pairs the reluctant Git with half-wit and heavy-handed mobster, Bunny Kelly (Brendan Gleeson).

After robbing a petrol station and dumping their stolen car, Bunny and Git steal another car and continue on their journey. They drive the extremely old and decrepit car to a remote bog area, where they are to rendezvous with a so-called "Friendly Face". However, they arrive late, and the "Friendly Face" has left. With no other option, the duo drive to Cork. They check out the last known hotel that Grogan was registered in, only to find that he has already left.

Following a tip, they then drive to The Black & Amber Inn, a pub that Grogan is known to frequent. However, Git is attacked by some mobsters who break his nose. Bunny painfully re-sets Git's nose for him. Returning at night to the pub, they follow the mobsters to a secluded house in the middle of a forest. After surveying the house, Bunny and Git conclude that Frank Grogan is being held against his will by the mobsters and they decide to rescue him.

The following morning, Bunny provides Git with a pistol. The two then enter the house, find Grogan, and flee the scene. They engage in a gunfight with the mobsters. During the escape, Grogan demands to know where he is being taken. When he is informed that he is being taken to Tom French, he reacts in horror and attempts to flee. Grogan is then knocked unconscious by Bunny and bundled into the boot of the stolen car.

After phoning Tom French's associates, Bunny and Git are informed that the "Friendly Face" will be at the bogs again the following day, and they can pass Grogan over there. Bunny and Git then release Grogan from the boot. They drive along, heading back towards the rendezvous with the "Friendly Face". Grogan's incessant and self-aggrandizing chatter deeply irritates Bunny, who eventually abandons the car and steals a far newer and more plush Mercedes-Benz saloon.

After arriving at the rendezvous point, Bunny refuses to leave the car. Grogan and Git walk across the marshes to get to the barn to meet the "Friendly Face" (Donal O'Kelly). Grogan, afraid he will be killed, begs Git not to leave him alone. Git agrees. At the rendezvous, Grogan does not recognise the man and is fearful for his life. Git refuses to leave Grogan alone with the stranger. The "Friendly Face" then pulls a gun on the two and forces them to kneel on a tarp, preparing to execute them both. Grogan, eager to save his own skin, offers the "Friendly Face" £50,000 in exchange for his release. Grogan also instructs the "Friendly Face" to kill Git, who has no money to offer. Before the "Friendly Face" can kill Git, Bunny arrives and holds the "Friendly Face" at gunpoint and saves Git. After stuffing the "Friendly Face" into the boot of his own car, Git and Bunny drag Grogan back to the Mercedes, and begin to interrogate him for the truth.

Grogan reveals that he and Tom French were once business partners, along with a man named Sonny Mulligan (Johnny Murphy). Grogan reveals that he once came into possession of one side of a plate to print $20-dollar bills. Without the other half, it was useless. French later comes into possession of the other side of the plates. Eager to get both plates, French offers Grogan £5,000 for his half. Grogan refuses, instead opting to sell his half for £10,000 to a criminal from London. French, however, counter-offers. He has found a buyer for both plates, the buyer offering £100,000. French agrees to a 50-50 deal with Grogan, and offers him £25,000 up-front as good-faith money. French's wife is to deliver this money. However, the deal fell through as French's wife never shows up.

Phoning French again, a meeting is arranged for the following day. Anto will be released and the deal will be closed.

The trio check in to a nearby hotel, The Ambassador. Bunny and Git tie Grogan to the bed in the room, so they can go and enjoy the swimming pool and the bar of the hotel in peace. Both Bunny and Git have one-night stands with women they meet in the hotel. Git reveals to his partner through pillow-talk that he took the fall for his father and went to prison so his father could go free.

When Bunny and Git return to the hotel room, they find that Grogan has escaped. Before leaving, Grogan made three phone calls; one to a Cork number, one to a taxi company, and one to the nearby Slieve na Vogue Hotel. Bunny and Git head to the Slieve na Vogue. Grogan has checked into the Slieve na Vogue under a false name, but Bunny recognises his deception. Grogan's associates from Cork arrive soon after, forcing Bunny and Git to flee again, with Frank in the boot of the car.

The trio then head for the rendezvous with Tom French. Leaving Grogan with Bunny, Git and French head into the woods to dig up a package. The package contains one of the printing plates. French, Git, Grogan, and Bunny then head to another area of the woods, where French instructs them to dig another area. It is here that the skeletal remains of their former associate, Sonny Mulligan, is uncovered.

French and Grogan then reveal what happened all those years ago. Sonny had "borrowed" the plates from an American criminal gang, on the condition that he would not print more than $50,000. This was to be Sonny's retirement money. French married Sonny's niece (and Grogan proceeded to have an extramarital affair with her). French wanted Sonny to print more than the agreed $50,000. But Sonny refused and the pair had a blazing argument at French's wedding.

Grogan and French decide to steal the plates from Sonny, print their own batch of counterfeit money, and then return the plates to their hiding place without Sonny ever knowing. Sonny, however, always kept one of the plates in his possession at all times. French spied on Sonny and saw where he had buried the other plate. Grogan murdered Sonny in the woods to get the other plate. Burying Sonny in the woods, Grogan and French narrowly avoid being killed by Sonny's relatives and by the American gang who want their plates back. The situation is further soured when French learns of the affair Grogan is having with his wife. They then part and never speak again.

Back in the present, Grogan insults the memory of Sonny Mulligan. It is revealed that French's wife has absconded, with the £25,000 of French's money. Infuriated, French uses a gun that was buried with Sonny to shoot Grogan twice in the chest, killing him. French then turns his attention to Bunny and Git. French shoots Bunny in the arm, before Git uses his own gun to shoot French twice, killing him. Bunny and Git then bury Grogan and French, alongside the remains of Sonny Mulligan. The duo then leave, taking the plates with them.

Several months later, Bunny meets with Git's ex-girlfriend, Sabrina, in a pool hall and gives her an envelope with several thousand pounds in it; a gift from Git. Bunny claims that Git has left and gone to America. Bunny states his intentions to also head to the USA. When Sabrina raises the possibility that Git had something to do with Tom French's disappearance, Bunny denies it and states that French pulled an insurance scam and fled the country.

It is then revealed that Git is waiting outside the pool hall for Bunny. After a short conversation, Bunny and Git head to the airport.

Cast[edit]

  • John Bergin as young Tom French
  • Antoine Byrne as Sabrina Bradley
  • David Wilmot as Anto
  • Donal O'Kelly as "The Friendly Face"
  • Johnny Murphy as Sonny Mulligan
  • Carly Baker as Caroline
  • Michael McElhatton as Johnner Doyle
  • Joe Gallagher as Steo Gannon
  • Kevin Hely as Petrol Station Attendant
  • Eamonn Hunt as Cork Barman
  • Frank O'Sullivan as Cork Man 1
  • Jason Byrne as Cork Man 2
  • Eamon A. Kelly as Cork Man 3

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 84% based on 19 reviews.[1]

The New York Times reviewer praised it for "steering clear of Irish movie stereotypes and instead showing off a spare and quizzical indie spirit".[2]

Rogert Ebert gave it 3 out of 4 stars.[3]

Awards[edit]

The film won several awards. Paddy Breathnach won Best New Director and the Jury Prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival and won Best Director at Thessalonica 1997 and Best Film at Bogota International Film Festival 1998. Screenwriter Conor McPherson also won awards and acclaim for his script.[4]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD in Ireland only in December 2011.[citation needed]

References[edit]

External links[edit]