Review: ‘Cherrybomb’ by Tao

published 3 April 2009
written by Tao

I was able to see Cherrybomb at the Jameson Belfast Film Festival. Belfast is a beautiful place with a lot of rich and recent history. So without further ado, here is my Cherrybomb review!

What can I say? When finally deciding on going to Belfast, I wanted to lower my expectations of the film. I was afraid that if I thought too highly of it, I wouldn’t enjoy it. However, it was hard. Everyone that went (AJ, Jo, Karo, FugitiveStar) had already seen it. They were always talking about everything and showing enthusiasm over it. But my expectations were high and, fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed. Neglo said something in her review–You finally get to see Rupert act. There is just so much we haven’t seen of him. The language alone, despite seeing Driving Lessons, is an indication of this. There was absolutely no reservations from him. He never ever hesitated using “Fuck” and its many available usage. You could actually see Rupert saying these things all the time, that’s how natural it was. (That’s not to say Rupert never curses, but it’s the way some of the words came out of his mouth that was just so… free flowing!) The sex scene was also an indication of how much Rupert can surprise you. Not in the way that a certain review mentions it was hard seeing Ron in that type of situation; he is just so confident and convincing in it, despite his reservations. His accent is absolutely flawless. Being in Belfast for several days before the film, I could listen to all the locals and take mental notes. Rupert sounded no different. In fact, Helen Sloan actually made a comment that one of the lines in the movie, she actually thought it was someone else speaking until she realized it was Rupert and was highly impressed. (Helen is local.)

Malachy (note: In case you don’t know, it’s pronounced Mal-ah-kee and not Mal-ah-ki) can, in a lot of ways, resemble Ben in that he can be quiet and sort of let it all soak in. But that’s where it stops. His relationship with his parents is a good one, and I never once saw it as any other family that he’s had before in films. We even get to see a bit of an extended family on this one which was a real treat. Malachy is also more outgoing. He’ll be ready to go down a path no matter what. Is he a good kid? Definitely, he’s got great parents even if they only think of him as Mr. School at times. But they are good parents who joke with him and think highly of him. This is important as there is a part of the film, without giving much away, that helps facilitate one of the fights between Mal and Luke. This is probably one of my favorite scenes because Rupert played his part exceptionally well and the scene had you feeling for both boys. So, when anyone says it’s hard to see Rupert doing anything like a sex scene because of Harry Potter, they should get out of the business or not even ever see a film (depending on if they’re a critic or a movie watcher) because Rupert never evokes Ron. Are there times you see his similar acting? Of course, he can’t change everything. But he is Malachy. He is not Ron. He is not Ben or even Alan. He is simply Malachy.

Luke is a… fabulous character. Robbie is a great actor, but in scenes where he has to really put it on, he goes too far in my opinion. He lays it on thick and makes Luke just too fabulous at times. It’s not so bad that it detracts from the film, but I just did not see where he was this great actor in these major scenes. Now, his more subtle stuff, when he is actually acting instead of laying it on thick, he is amazing. Luke is definitely a tragic character, but I never thought to the point where you would feel really sorry for him. Yes, it’s not his fault his father is a drunk or that his brother makes him sell drugs… but he doesn’t even try. He doesn’t try to get good grades, he doesn’t try to have a better life, he just has Malachy. (Which is also important for the plot.)

Michelle is the vixen. She’s raw and real, but she loves to play. I thought Kimberley Nixon was good, she brought something to the table and was excellent in her role. However, next to Rupert and Robbie (when he was good and not over doing it), she was pale in comparison. Again, nothing takes away from the film, but it was easy to tell she was probably the weakest link out of all of them. Michelle is probably a harder character to play because she doesn’t have many depths. She’s basically the vixen. But she has a side of her that wants someone to love her, especially her father. Kim is actually very good in these scenes.

Crilly was very hard to feel anything for him. He was a jerk. I didn’t care if he had time for Michelle, it was just everything else he did, especially towards the end.

Smiley, I never understood why this character or the scenes of him and Luke were talked up as great. He just annoyed me to the point where I was glad when he wasn’t on screen any more. And the only emotional scene between him and Luke that was actually good was their last scene together. I don’t want to give anything away, but it was sad and understated which made it beautiful. All other scenes were sort of over the top and didn’t hold my interest.

When everyone says that it’s a story about two guys competing for a girl and then Luke and Michelle competing for Malachy is very true. There is this one scene when it just becomes especially obvious when Luke realizes that Malachy just might be falling for Michelle. He actually tries to put a wedge between them, several times over. Of course, in the end, the bond between Malachy and Luke is strong and really is the one major relationships of the film that means something.

For those Luchy shippers, this film does not disappoint. Not only as a platonic relationship, but also there is a scene towards the end, in a drug induced scene (I’ll explain it a little later) you actually are waiting for them to kiss. lol! The chemistry between them is intense at this point.

The film itself is eye candy. The shots are amazing. There are so many close-ups of Rupert that every fan will love. I loved the way the text messaging was done. Everything was thrown at you onto the screen. The fireworks really worked and at one point, there is a lot of red smoke and it just adds to the mystic of the film. One of the last scenes, the drugged induced party, was trippy. I mean in that 1960s style crazy LSD type of way. I wish there was a way to explain it that would really do it justice.

The writing is funny and distinctive. There are some great one liners that people might actually use years to come.

Let me go through the film a little. Beware, spoilers ahead! The beginning is very interesting. Rupert is first to appear on screen in a very neat way. If you ever saw Righteous Kill it gives you a bit of indication of how the film starts out. This is followed by a funny scene where Malachy really enjoys the gymnastic girls. He then spies something that sets most of the action. I loved when the boys first spot Michelle, their reactions are completely priceless. One of my favorite scenes is Malachy getting ready for a night out on the town. When explained, you suddenly think John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, but it’s so much better and filmed so neatly. Plus Rupert’s body is to die for! There is a funny bit while Malachy and Luke hang around with the car park gang where Michelle is trying to find out about them, what she can score from Luke, and asks if they’re going to the Lifeboat club later. Malachy is all eager with his, “Yeah!” and then plays it off cool with like a, “Yeah, maybe…” type of response. Then he slyly tries to get Michelle’s phone number and then he calls her, to make sure it’s the right number. This is where we learn his last name. She then makes him think she’s all excited for him, then doesn’t care and hangs up. She immediately calls back, he gets all excited and then she asks for Luke and his smile just deflates again. It’s hilarious as Rupert’s comedic timing is brilliant. Then the boys really crack you up talking about how hot they are.

The Lifeboat scenes are actually a lot of fun, and that’s when the competition really starts off. Luke’s father comes in and starts embarrassing him in front of Michelle. To play it off, he tells Michelle that he’s just as crazy and starts fighting in the club. This is where Michelle turns to Malachy and tells him, “Top that!” Then we see Malachy with a shirt that we’re lead to believe is bloodied but it’s actually… red paint! Because after that we see Michelle walking out the door and seeing all the red graffiti on the walls that Malachy had written. Luke finds out about this and tries to top it, as Michelle is pretty impressed, and begins to try and destroy the Leisureplex. Crilly takes it out on Malachy and even Michelle. Malachy tries to comfort her and she completely disses him. Later, when he’s stuck at home with his family celebrating his good grades, she continues to try and get him to come to her. When he says that he has no way to get there she tells him to get a cab… which makes him immediately think of his father’s cab. The joy ride around the town follows, and Michelle is once again impressed — making Luke try and steer the car and then they crash! This is when things start to go nuts. Luke tries to insult Malachy by basically calling him a mama’s boy. Malachy strikes back by telling Luke that he doesn’t care because he has no one to go home too. This is when Luke drops the big bomb on Michelle and Malachy has to confirm it. I feel this is the turning point for Michelle as to why she prefers Malachy over Luke. Luke tries to hurt her in order to get her away from Malachy (since he kept the secret from her), but she knows Malachy only had her best interests at heart by spearing her feelings.

The next day, Malachy stops by Crilly’s place to see Michelle and this is where the sex scene comes in. It’s beautifully shot and artistic. And of course the scene where Michelle gives Malachy a blow job is brilliantly done, as Malachy is in pure bliss and Rupert is just splendid in showing this. Before they can continue on, Crilly catches them! This is where the big blow up between Crilly and Michelle happens and Crilly basically tells her to go back to her mother. Meanwhile, Malachy tells Luke about everything that’s happened and they celebrate. This is where he’s obviously whipped and smitten and Luke notices: from here the competition for Michelle turns into a competition for Malachy. Michelle interrupts them to ask about throwing a farewell party at the leisureplex (because she has to leave Belfast). They call all their friends and they begin the big party. There is a major fight between Luke and Malachy: Luke tries to get Mal away from her by telling him that she is putting a wedge between them. Malachy gets pissed and goes over to Michelle and asks and she says no. They kiss a lot and this really sets off Luke. Then all the drug induced craze begins. This is where the Luchy moments really come together. Then Crilly comes to see the destruction and wants to hurt Michelle. Malachy tries to come to her rescue and pays for it. Crilly begins to beat the shit out of him! Now, if you do not know who wants to die stop reading right this instance! Those of you who don’t care, continue reading… So Luke comes to Malachy’s rescue with a metal object (not sure if it was a bat or a pipe) and hits Crilly over the head once. Then he hits him over the head again killing him. Luke tries to get Malachy to leave but he’s too afraid of what will happen and how Michelle is coping. They are then lead out of the leisureplex by the police. This is a very emotional scene, this whole moment from the confrontation with Crilly, to being lead out by the police, to the boys explaining everything that has happened to Luke telling the police, that Malachy is his best friend, and he’d have done the same for Luke.

In the end, I think it would be crazy for this film to not go to regular theatres and stay R rated (as it most certainly will be). It’s not a “grown up film”, it’s just a film that’s real. I personally feel like teenagers would be the target audience, and the under 17 R rating would make it tricky for US audiences, but it’s okay because anyone older – into their 20s and above – can appreciate it. I say this as a 28 year old who isn’t much of a social butterfly, so these experiences aren’t something I’m familiar with. However, having knowing plenty of people who do have experiences like this, this film can evoke a lot of thought for the older generation as well.

If you’re a Rupert fan, this movie will make you proud to be one. If you’re a fan of the HP craze and like the trio in general, you’ll see him in a whole new light and will become a fan. No matter if you like the movie or not. If you’re not a fan (why are you reading this?) see the movie. I believe you’ll understand then why people are such huge fans of this great young talent.

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