Tuesday, 26 August 2008

No.44 : War of the Buttons




IMDb Link : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111666/



A bit of family fun now with ‘War of the Buttons’ a gentle tale of boys growing up in Ireland and discovering all the usual stuff you get in films like this, you know, responsibility, girls, killing wildlife etc.



Set in contemporary Ireland the film tells the story of a rivalry between two groups of boys from neighbouring villages. Things start off in minor fashion with the odd bit of vandalism but soon escalate into all out war. Not tough guy war, more of a girly slap fest kind of conflict.



When a rival boy is captured our heroes cut the buttons from his clothes as a battle trophy, hence the title. These are piled up in jars at their new HQ, where their schemes are devised. After a few retaliatory strikes our guys save their clothes by fighting in the nude in a Glittertastic scene.



Things come to a head when a rabbit gets injured (!) and the boys realise that they have more in common than they first thought - an affection for rabbits for one. After a pivotal battle things seem settled but one boy excluded from the fray decides to get a bit of revenge with his dad’s new tractor.



I quite enjoyed this film although the diddley-dee soundtrack made it made it sound like Riverdance’s backing tapes were on a constant loop. The mostly young cast were fine and it was good to see that they weren’t the usual crop of stage school kids. Of course being an Irish film Colm Meaney showed up, as required by Irish law, apparently. He gave good value as a booze offering loud mouth especially in a closing scene where we learn that the inter-village tensions are nothing new.



The themes of loss of innocence and empathy for the enemy were well explored and, in X-Factor parlance, they all went on a journey through the course of the film. Some scenes, such as the killing of a fox, were a bit upsetting but as the death blow happened off camera I’m sure Foxy came out of it OK.



The general feel of the film reminded me of those old Children’s’ Film Foundation films of the 1970’s, but since when was a slice of nostalgia a bad thing? The film wasn’t hard hitting, nor tried to be. It’s a decent bit of gentle family fun that is probably quite forgettable but strangely affecting at the same time.



Best Bit : Tractor Attack!



‘W’ Score 15/23

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