Lock, Stock and Two Total Idiots
The Young Offenders is a comedy caper which is loosely based around Ireland’s largest cocaine seizure ever. It seems that in 2007, 440 million euro’s worth of cocaine washed up on Ireland’s shores and some were quick to capitalise, some (like our main protagonists) weren’t.
Our film starts with us being introduced to Jock and Conor, discussing what they would do with the imaginary money they intend to make. This is a much needed subtle and controlled opening to the movie, it gives us as an audience to get used to the thick Irish accents that both the boys have. It takes around 10 minutes to fully grasp the conversation, if you can’t get it by then, switch off, you are wasting your time. Even during the opening compilation of characters we are still missing a few words every now and then. However, it’s this opening that sets the tone for the rest of the movie. It is fast paced and great fun.
The real joy of The Young Offenders is in the relationship between it’s two main characters Jock and Conor, they are stereotypical, idiotic, wannabe gangsters, juveniles. It would be easy to hate this pair, marking them as nothing more than annoying, obnoxious, children. But they aren’t. Jock and Conor are the perfect pair.
The Young Offenders is a unique movie not because of some of it’s more surreal features (like Jock literally wearing another mans face or a police officer who is obsessed with bike thieves), but because of its voice. Several times during the movies runtime we are not just encouraged to laugh but also to think. Conor (who frequently gives us a commentary on the on screen goings on) clearly has a good heart. He hypothesizes why people feel alone, what they could do to be better and just as he is about to reach an epiphany, he will steal it all away with a stupid comment. Again this could have been a disaster for the feature but actually plays to it’s strength.
Looking at the IMDB for the cast it appears that this is their first big feature film, I truly hope this is the start of strong careers in the independent movie scene. They truly deserve it. I think it’s Jock and Conor’s childlike innocence that makes them so enduring to us as an audience. It is a credit to Alex Murphy and Chris Walley that they could make such personalities work so well.
For a film that has large periods comprising of nothing but bike rides the film is remarkably well paced and it’s true that while the ending does leave a little bit to be desired, it is in keeping with the rest of the movies lower off kilter tone. The Young Offenders never feels like it’s dragging along or moving to fast for it’s audience to not be enjoying their selves.
From the surreal plot to the streetwise soundtrack, everything about The Young Offenders shouldn’t work, but somehow it comes together perfectly. A reminder that occasionally it’s the most simple of stories which work best.