Waking Ned Devine


1.) Brief summary

Week by week one and the same entertainment: millions of people get caught by the "Saturday Night Fever" - not on the dancefloor but in front of their TV sets at home. All of them are putting themselves the identical question: What would be if... ?
As well Jackie O’Shea from the tiny south - Irish spot called Tullymore. As usual the old age pensioner and passionate gambler hasn’t won the pools this week. But when he finds out through the local newspaper the following morning that one inhabitant of his community which only counts 52 living souls has cracked the kitty, he feels as if he himself had hit the jackpot. After all in the country it’s a matter of honour to share everything with bosom companions and Jackie is close mate to (nearly) everybody in his home village, more or less at least. So the old man gets going to find out about the identity of the lucky beggar among Tullymore’s 18 regular lottery players and to make friends with him or her. Even if there were just a few rounds at his favourite pub "Fitzgerald’s" to be gained by it. After some costly but futile "interrogations" of potential winners of the first prize Jackie and his intimate confidant Michael O’Sullivan hatch a plan. The two sprightly odd birds organize a party with roast chicken and plentiful whisky and beer which may loosen the tongues of the guests to out the wealthy one. Dead loss, until Jackie’s wife Annie notices that only one didn’t accept the generous invitation: the old Ned Devine. The absence of the fisherman who otherwise didn’t object to any celebration has a convincing reason: stunned by sheer pleasure about his prize, holding the lottery ticket in his hand and with a beatific smile in his face he has died of a heart attack in front of his telly.
After some hours of mourning and a visionary dream Jackie makes a decision. He’s convinced that the magnanimous and living on his own Ned wouldn’t have wanted that this large sum of money became invalid, just because he didn’t have a bloodrelated heir. So they make their late Irish Croesus Ned Devine arise from the dead, at least in the face of the lottery company. For a while their strategy seems to go off without a hitch until the two crafty aged men hear about the actual amount of the prize draw: Seven million pounds. 500 000 pounds would have been acceptable, but seven million?! Tormented by moral scruples they initiate their community into their secret to share out the sum well - balanced among them. All the inhabitants are enthusiastic about the idea - except the grumpy and mean "witch" Lizzy, who insists to report the hated conspirators of fraud. But in the end fortune smiles on the cranky residents of the now again sleepy little place named Tullymore.

2.) Short descriptions of some of the characters

è Lizzy Quinn (Eileen Dromey)
The grouchy and nasty "witch" circles though the village in her wheel - chair and
spreads bad temper. She’s the woman who almost causes the breakdown of the
whole project. But when she insists to grass on all the other habitants of
Tullymore to the lottery company, a telephone box plays a great role to bring the
story to a happy end.
è Pig Finn (James Nesbitt) & Maggie Tooley (Susan Lynch)
Pig Finn is a loveable but smelly hog - breeder who fell in love with Maggie, the
single mother of an about five year old boy. But his beloved won’t reciprocate his
affection until he doesn’t reek of pigs any more. Finn would do anything for her,
but he isn’t able to stop breeding hogs because that’s the only way for him to keep
his head above water. He’s so enthusiastic about the injection of money because
it would give him the possibility to change his job and finally to marry his darling.
√® Michael O’Sullivan (David Kelly)
From my point of view Jackie’s best friend, the protagonist of the film, surpasses
all the other characters. There isn’t a dry eye in the place when this tiny, little, thin
manikin, who reminds me of a comic - figure, whizzes naked on a motorbike in an
emergency through the Irish countryside. That’s for sure one of the funniest
nudities I have ever seen on the big screen in my whole life!

3.) Personal opinion

In my opinion the movie lives on the brilliant quirky set of characters: Ian Bannen (Jackie O’Shea) has an infectious, mischievous smile that won’t quit, and David Kelly (Michael O’Sullivan) is a wonder feigned perplexity. The ensemble acting of the two protagonists reaches two climaxes: The most comical when the two companions are trying to remove the rapturous grin off the dead man’s face and the most touching with the most heart - rending funeral oration which has ever been given to a friend...
Comedy of the situations, petite droll ideas and sarcastic but funny dialogues characterize this tempestuous and full of irony and vicious humour gem of Irish comedy.
Utterly entrancing. I was completely captured by this movie. It has a few completely wacko moments of semi - surreal humour, some suspense, and there’s a little twist at the end that made me draw in my breath in joyful surprise.
Waking Ned Devine is highly recommended. This movie is so much fun, it’s worth taking the whole family. Don’t miss it!
I totally agree with the following critics written in the Boston Globe:
"If there’s the merest hint of larceny in your heart, it’s hard to imagine "Waking Ned Devine" not connecting to it..."

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