Prison/Life drama set in Dublin. Michael is a young lad trying to keep his life on track, he’s left school early, and on probation for being in a stolen car. One of his friends asks him to hold on to some cocaine for him and when the Police (Garda) raid his house he is arrested for possession. Sent to prison for two months he learns that he has to stand up for himself or be swallowed up by the system.
If anything with Irish films I always find myself judging, or reviewing them, with a harsher eye. I love my country and there are a lot of Irish films through the years that I could watch every day, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give an easy pass to them. So the mark that I’ve given this film was won by hard work and a finely tuned script.
What sets Michael Inside apart from other slice of life dramas that have a prison element with them is that there is a realism to the film that I wasn’t expecting. You feel you’re in that type of fly on the wall documentary for a lot of the film. Michael is trying to make positive steps with his life and yet in the lower class neighbourhood where he lives it’s hard. He’s expected to fall in with the rest of his mates and the criminals that take advantage of kids like him. The police raid that finds the drugs in the house that he shares with his Grandfather he remains tight lipped about who supplied him the drugs. He’s sent to prison for a short sharp shock that the judiciary hope will set him on the straight and narrow. When this custody is over he finds going back to his normal life a lot harder than he thought.
Moe Dunford plays Michael’s Prison guardian and or mentor and or boss. If you don’t know Moe then he usually comes across as the big teddy bear of the Irish performers, that vision of him is forever going to be lost to me, here he plays the psychopath that we all believe prison houses. It’s a brief part in the film but the impact and violent nature of his performance is just lingering. The breakout star of the film is Michael himself Dafhyd Flynn, showing a child like innocence at one moment and having to grow up to maturity in the blink of an eye. These two performances are worth the price of admission alone but we get more, we get Grandfather played by Lalor Roddy, Roddy gives this heartbreaking role such emotion that you just almost start to cry from your soul for him. He wants the best for Michael and his life gets worse as Michael’s does, even though he’s free from prison he’s effected by the actions of his grandson.
Michael Inside is a heavy drama that is all too real at times and you rarely know what to expect next from the film. The script in kept to a minimum and the performances have to be raised, and are raised, to lift the film. I don’t know if I could watch this film time and time again, but will stand by this, that everyone should get out and see this in a film. It’s a startling drama that shows, and is based on real life prisoner research, showing the revolving door that these young men are faced with. The choice between staying on the good path and surviving jail is like tightrope walking barefoot over a razor blade. There is little to no hope within the film and that was my only problem, but then I remembered that this film wanted to be as close to reality as possible, and the hope comes from young men and women looking at this film and deciding on a different path. This is Irish Cinema at its best.
Director: Frank Berry
Writer: Frank Berry
Stars: Dafhyd Flynn, Lalor Roddy, Moe Dunford & more… See full cast & crew