Directed by Sarah Share.
In the production notes that accompany 'If I Should Fall From Grace', Sarah Share admits that when she first met and agreed with Shane MacGowan to make this documentary, she didn't know whether the singer would turn up for interviews and worried what kind of state he would be in if he did. Not the best way to begin your filmmaking career, but what could have been a disaster is instead an interesting, if somewhat uneven, study of a man and his music.
The main problem with the finished product is that Share became a victim of her own success. When she began the project it was envisioned as a one-hour documentary for TG4, but the response to the 60-minute cut was so positive she was asked to find another 30 for a theatrical release. By this stage the budget was spent and it seems as if numerous Pogues videos were used to pad out the running time. Some are used in their entirety, detaching the viewer from MacGowan's story.
Share's interviewees range from MacGowan's parents to former bandmate Phil Chevron (the only Pogue to appear onscreen). All provide valuable insights into the singer's life but all suffer from the film's extended running time. MacGowan's parents are hardly seen in the latter half of the film, while key questions (such as could The Pogues story have turned out differently?) are absent from Chevron's segments. Given that so much footage seems to be of MacGowan in various hostelries and hangouts, one wonders if more screen time could not have been devoted to interviews.
Where Share scores highly is in her interviews with MacGowan, which are both witty and poignant. What comes across is a man who has his share of off days but is far sharper and softer than the media caricature suggests. There are some touching scenes between McGowan and his partner Victoria, while his assessment of his time in The Pogues is neither business minded or hopelessly romantic. He writes off their celebrated 'Rum, Sodomy & The Lash' album, has nothing positive to say about 'Hell's Ditch', claims that he was sacked (a statement contradicted by Chevron) and that his fellow band members were trying to wash the Irishness out of The Pogues music. Presumably there's not much chance of a reunion.
The film closes with MacGowan telling the camera that he only ever wanted to be a professional musician and thanking God that he became one. You will leave the cinema with a mixture of admiration and frustration, not just towards MacGowan but also the director.