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"The Black Guelph" - movie review

Irish thriller form John Connors The Black Guelph / A Cluster Fox Films

No matter where we are on the globe, it's evident that a generation of kids born without fathers at home is a plague on society. In the new Irish thriller from John Connors, "The Black Guelph," we see this evidence in "Kanto" (played by Graham Early), a disconnected youth trying to find himself when his estranged father reappears in his life. Connors immerses us in the streets of an under-studied area where Irish youths become small-time drug dealers, addicts, and miscreants.

"The Black Guelph" is the Irish street movie we have been waiting for. So many films revolve around the IRA or older Irish crime folk tales. It's refreshing to see how this culture lives through its movements, culture, and lifestyle. There are moments in the film reminiscent of Larry Clark's classic "Kids," immersing viewers in the crews' lives.

The narrative involving Kanto's father, Dan (played by Paul Roe), along with the addicts, deviates from the hardcore involvement of the thugs. While there is a clear connection, the two storylines often uncomfortably cross paths, with viewers more intrigued by the dealers than the family dynamic. Many films focus on fathers seeking to reunite with their families. "5lbs of Pressure" touched on this, a theme seen globally as fathers are incarcerated.

Unfortunately, there wasn't much investment in Dan's plight in "The Black Guelph," as his story could have been the father's tale of any of the young drug dealers, not just Kanto's.

Still, the first hour of "The Black Guelph" is compelling and will introduce an entirely new audience to the underbelly of society that these youths deal with daily. Projects and trailer parks are the same from the US to Ireland, and "The Black Guelph" serves as a reminder that a fatherless home perpetuates a cycle we can't escape from in society.


THE BLACK GUELPH is directed and written by Josh Connors. Written, edited, and produced by Tiernan Williams. Produced by Maria O'Neill. Executive produced by Kevin Glynn and Dylan Stagno. Cinematography by Carl Quinn. A Cluster Fox Films production.

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