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Wild Mountain Thyme Review

Wild Mountain Thyme Review – Shane reviews a controversial masterpiece? No wait, he’s reviewing “Wild Mountain Thyme”, my mistake!

It took me a long time to watch this film and with good reason. A quick look at the comments section on YouTube will tell you why, “This is worse than the famine” one person wrote while another commented “This is the worst thing done to Ireland since Cromwell”. The release of the trailer last year had the accent police out in force with the film being labelled as Paddywackery of the highest order. Most people’s reaction was to dismiss any notions of ever watching Wild Mountain Thyme but I was intrigued, surely the film can’t be as bad as it looks, can it? Maybe looking past the accents there would be a sweet, charming romantic comedy. But I really had no idea what kind of cliched mess was about to unfold in front of me.

Written and directed by John Patrick Shanley and based on his play Outside Mullingar, Wild Mountain Thyme centres around the romantic tensions between pipe smoking, headstrong farmer Rosemary Muldoon (Emily Blunt) and her feckless gobsheen of a neighbour Anthony Reilly (Jamie Dornan). Rosemary has loved Anthony since they were children but he seems too busy talking to donkeys, tripping over absolutely everything and worrying about the family curse to have noticed.

The first thing that needs to be addressed is the accents. What in the name of begorrah and begosh are those accents? Emily Blunt is a wonderful actress but I have no idea what she’s trying here. I fear I may never get the awful sound of her screaming “It were hey dat kissed mey” out of my head. It’s a bit of a mystery as to why Christopher Walken was cast as cantankerous old Tony Reilly when there are so many Irish actors who would have been perfect for the role (and who could actually do an Irish accent). It’s hard to talk about his attempted accent without describing it as Christopher Walken attempting an offensive Irish accent. And then there’s Jamie Dornan. An actual Irishman. Alright, he’s from Belfast which is nowhere near (outside) Mullingar, or wherever the film is supposedly set, but he could do better, much better. Surly he could have spoken up and questioned why everyone was speaking as if they were auditioning for Darby O’Gill and the little people. In fairness to John Hamm, his accent is perfect. But he is playing an American so it probably wasn’t too much of a stretch for him.

There is some confusion as to when the film is actually set. You could be forgiven for thinking it was set in the 1950’s or even further back. Even after watching the film, I still wasn’t sure. Apparently, it takes place in modern day Ireland. Which is fairly surprising considering the most advance piece of technology available appears to be a landline telephone.

Then there is the dialogue. I think it is meant to sound whimsical, as if straight from the poetry of W.B. Yeats or Seamus Heaney. Instead, it’s just confusing and gibberish. “What is the sky for?” “Glass tastes like teeth.” “I’ve got a tinyness in my head.” Doesn’t exactly sound like poetry, more like the ramblings of the drunk guy, sitting alone on the back seat of a 3am Nitelink.

Watching this film, a thought keeps running through my head. Is this how the people of Kazakhstan feel watching Borat? At least they can take comfort knowing that Borat is a fictional comedy character. This is actually how some Americans still view Ireland.

When asked about the controversy surrounding the Irish reaction to the film, Shanley said “I told Emily (Blunt) when we first talked about this project, I’m not making this movie for the Irish. If you try to get the Irish to love you, no good will come of it. I’m making this movie for everybody else.” Imagine choosing to make a film in a country and then completely disregarding the opinions, culture and heritage of that country’s people. It’s no wonder Wild Mountain Thyme is such a disaster.

A film written and directed by an American for Americans who refuse to believe that Ireland has moved on since the 1800’s.

0 stars (And that’s being generous, it deserves a minus number just for wasting my time)

 

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