Directed by Goran Paskaljevic, Starring Colm Meaney, Adrian Dunbar, Cillian Murphy and Kerry Condon.
Having become a widower and lost his son to the Civil War, Harry Maloney (Meaney) is left with only youngest son Gus (Murphy) to help him scratch a living on his small cabbage farm. Slowly cracking up, Harry adopts the mantra that a "man is measured by his enemies" and singles out local publican and playboy George (Dunbar) as his nemesis. Problem is, Harry needs the town's Mr Big because, moonlighting as the local matchmaker, he's the only one who can come up with a wife for dreamer Gus. And George duly obliges with the beautiful Eileen (Condon), but her arrival in the Maloney house, and Harry's desire to put one over on George, means that the slide into tragedy isn't far away.
If the thoughts of another film about fathers, sons and miserable Ireland gives you the same feeling as a heavy bout of colonics then don't worry, because despite some shaky scenes at the start, 'How Harry…' is a finely crafted and superbly acted study of jealousy and redemption in a one-car town. Adapting the story from a Chinese fable, Paskaljevic finds the right pitch between comedy and tragedy as Harry's life unravels while Gus grows in stature as he discovers that he can be a bigger man than his father wants him to be.
Once again, Meaney shows that he deserves far more than the character actor status Hollywood has afforded him. Here he bounces off Murphy with relish, perfectly capturing the torture of a man who can't explain his feelings but can't keep his mouth shut either. It's a role with plenty of opportunity to overact, but like everyone around him, his restraint makes the story all the more interesting. And while the film is slow-moving, trying to second guess just where Harry's lunacy will take him next carries you through to the titular conclusion.
A nice find in between the blockbusters.