by Tim Birkbeck
When people lose a loved one the grief takes different forms. For mild-mannered Irish farmer Donal, his grief shapes itself by wanting to find answers to why his mother was murdered.
With its gritty Irish backdrop, Chris Baugh’s Bad Day For The Cut is the perfect blend of thriller and brutal revenge film.
But for our protagonist Donal (fantastically portrayed by Nigel O’Neill) the life of bloody murder isn’t exactly one he chose, but he more than rises to the task.
Still living at home with his mum Florence (Stella McCusker), Donal seems content to work the fields on the farm and go for a drink at his local pub.
However, after drinking himself to sleep and raising to find his mother killed, all bets are off and the film takes on a Hobo With a Shotgun vibe.
It isn’t until two masked men bungle staging Donal’s “suicide” that the real brutality of the film comes out – the rather reserved farmer crushes one of the men in the bonnet of a car with a sledge hammer – but spares the other man Bartosz (Jozef Pawloski) in exchange for his help to track down his mother’s killer.
This odd couple take to the road in the farmer’s newly converted bright red campervan, coming across all the different henchmen of Frankie Pierce (Susan Lynch), who has orchestrated the whole ordeal.
Now, if you are thinking that Bad Day For The Cut is just another UK gangster flick with blood and guts, well you are half right, but the script and framing of the film give it so much more character.
The subtle comedic nods are timed to perfection – Donal having a piss in the woods as his captor runs off in the back ground and Trevor Ballantine (Stuart Graham) sat eating a giant tub of ice cream on his own checking his phone are personal favourites.
From the opening 10 minutes, there is a bit of head scratching as to where this film is actually going, but once the flood gates open, boy does it get off to the races.
O’Neill gives an absolute powerhouse of a performance but it is Lynch’s psycho-bitch portrayal of Frankie which is just fantastic, for being cool and calculated, to smashing in someone’s head screaming ‘c**t’ over and over is just amazing.
As the narrative unfolds it becomes clear that both Frankie and Donal are extensions of their parents that they are both trying to avenge, and it is just a matter of who will pull the trigger first.
Director: Chris Baugh
Cast: Nigel O’Neill, Susan Lynch, Józef Pawlowski, Stuart Graham, David Pearse, Anna Próchniak and Stella McCusker
Run time: 99mins
Bad Day For The Cut is out on DVD on January 8 2018