Published Apr 21 2010, 16:56 BST | By Ben Rawson-Jones
A trio of captivating performances from the young leads and a mesmerising soundtrack cannot drag Cherrybomb
out of the creative mire. A naïve attempt to portray the social and emotional problems wrecking the lives of disillusioned teens, this British movie suffers from terribly unconvincing dialogue and predictable plot developments. Yet this might not matter too much to the legion of Rupert Grint
fans who campaigned
for its release. For they are rewarded with the chance to see him being noshed off. Now you don't see that in Hogwarts.Cherrybomb
tracks the hedonistic pursuits of drug-loving best mates Malachy (Grint) and Luke (Sheehan) in Belfast, with their competitive edge brought out by the arrival of the seductive and manipulative Michelle (Nixon). The lusty lads both crave this particular notch on the bedpost, with Malachy desperate to prove himself to be more than just delinquent Luke's mostly ignored wingman. Before long, their attempts to impress Michelle send them spiraling into dangerous and destructive territory - and plenty of those hammy, unrealistic scenes set in clubs that are rife on soap operas.
The most admirable quality of the movie is undoubtedly the acting. Rupert Grint imbues Malachy with an unhinged sense of longing in his eyes, a deep sadness that contrasts finely with the cheerful exuberance of the rest of his family. As Luke, Robert Sheehan captures the character's 'caged animal' desperation brilliantly, a result of the turbulent domestic life with his alcoholic father (a tragic and moving turn from Lalor Roddy) and dope-dealing brother. As the object of the duo's libidinous duel, Kimberley Nixon encapsulates the needy, fractured persona of a girl who was the casualty of a bitter divorce between her parents.
Wisely, the camera frequently dwells on their alienated young faces. It's just such a shame that the words spouted from their lips are so unrealistic and effectively undo their sterling work, through no fault of their own. The dialogue largely serves the purpose of explicitly stating what is going through the minds of the characters, thus painfully spoonfeeding the audience every emotion they experience. At times, it feels like walking in on some juvenile self-help group meeting. Furthermore, everyone keeps on stating their intentions, meaning that it's easy to tell exactly how the plot will advance. Such unambiguous signposting saps most of the drama out of the ensuing events. The interaction is also driven by the plot, not character, which occasionally throws up some terrible shifts in the nature of Michelle - who serves as the catalyst for the narrative. She ultimately ends up coming across as a mere cipher, despite the aforementioned work by Nixon.
The uber-cool soundtrack certainly adds cohesion to the movie, although the decision to emblazon the various text messages sent by the characters onto the screen in garish lettering is a gross stylistic misfire. Again, the movie patronises the viewer by quite literally spelling everything out. James Nesbitt, who crops up in a small role as Michelle's selfish father, was part of a far more authentic depiction of human behaviour in those Yellow Pages ads he starred in.
Largely squandering the fine efforts of its talented cast, Cherrybomb
is blighted by a script that lacks psychological credence. The movie's intentions are noble and the execution is largely passable, but there's no way of navigating round the poor quality of the written word on the pages handed to the actors. Well, that is unless the financiers managed to stump up enough cash to make the film in 3D and introduce some blue 8-foot tall aliens into Belfast along with plenty of artillery and swooping camerawork. Alas, they didn't.> What do you think of the movie? Share your views