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I Went Down

By Ray Pride

JULY 6, 1998: 

Paddy Breathnach's "I Went Down" is a smart and playful Irish crime comedy that may be the summer's sleeper hit. It may also be the best gangland picture from the UK since "Long Good Friday," or at least in league with Stephen Frears' "The Hit" and Neil Jordan's "Danny Boy." Honor among thieves is the starting point --"This is what I need to do to make things right," says Git (Peter McDonald) after a bad deal. He's got to go south and collect another man's debt--a man who's angry and anxious and one rough gangster. Git is not, nor is Bunny (Brendan Gleeson), his chunky, cowardly, foul-mouthed sidekick. As written by playwright Conor McPherson, Git and Bunny, surely not yet into their thirties, are filled with everyday erudition and life experience, they're just incapable of doing anything right with it. The naturalism of their banter and their conflicts--at least until the too-neat denouement of twenty years of bad blood between two men--is often laugh-out-loud funny. "I Went Down" shows that the flip side of etiquette is cruelty, and a coin has two faces.

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