Dallas Film Fest Journal: ‘Jump’

[Editor’s Note: The 2013 Dallas International Film Festival runs from April 4th-14th. Our Bryan Kluger is there this week to look at some movies that may or may not ever play in a theater near you. He begins his coverage with the Irish crime thriller ‘Jump’. –JZ]

Hailing from Ireland, Kieron J. Walsh’s ‘Jump’ is a dark and twisted tale with elements of comedy that will attract the indie-film crowd at first glance, but loses its appeal very fast. You can tell that Walsh has a passion for the movie business and a true love of cinema, as he pays homage to several styles of filmmaking throughout the picture. However, the several different storylines that intersect in a ‘Pulp Fiction’ style don’t have enough time on-screen to develop relationships with the characters.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed seeing films like this play out. Odd time jumps are still a great idea if done right, but like the “found footage” movies that we constantly see today, some of the originality and freshness of the gimmick has been lost with repetition and imitation. If ‘Jump’ came out in the year 2000, I think it would have been a better experience. Unfortunately, with this being Walsh’s second attempt at making a feature film, it comes across a jumbled mess of a movie with characters we don’t care about, even though the general story is decent enough.

‘Jump’ takes place in a small Irish city in the few hours leading up to the New Year’s countdown. Much like ‘Memento’ or ‘Pulp Fiction’, we see the end of the story first, and are then taken to a different point in time, all of which leads back to the beginning, which is the end.

Someone unknown to us has stolen a large sum of money from local gangster Frank Feeney (Lalor Roddy), who runs a nightclub along with various other criminal activities. Feeney has two of his best guys (Richard Dormer and Ciaran McMenamin) on the job to track down his money and deal with the thief. The supposed lead role is Feeney’s daughter Greta (Nichola Burley), who struggles with the work her dad does and wants to get away from it all. As she’s about to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge, a young man by the name of Pearse (Martin McCann) stops her. Unknown at first, Pearse is on a revenge mission to find Feeney for the murder of his brother. Meanwhile, two of Greta’s girlfriends (Charlane McKenna and Valene Kane) have a night at the bars that goes from drunken fun to murder and mayhem.

Kieron’s camerawork is great. He shows the grittiness of this crime tale set in the side streets and dark alleys of a town in Ireland. Not at any point do we see the beauty of the lush landscapes or rolling hills of Ireland. And the set-pieces are as dirty as the characters, each of which is fairly unlikable.

The fatal flaw with this flick is that its run time of only 84 minutes doesn’t give us enough time to connect with or truly see who the characters are. Maybe this is due to how the film is laid out, being told out-of-order, but instead of a solid flow with the characters, we only get brief flashes with each, as we learn that the choices they make are all the wrong ones.

However, credit is due to the actors.. Burley plays an emotional wreck very well with the time she’s given, and McCann plays the decent guy hellbent on revenge. The rest turn in solid if by-the-book performances that keep the film going. Walsh has some talent here, but it’s wasted on this film. Ultimately, the messy execution and delivery make this potentially good film forgettable.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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