A GRITTY new Irish gangster drama starring Barry Keoghan and produced by Michael Fassbender is already being tipped as one of the must-watch movies of 2020.
Calm With Horses is set in darkest rural Ireland and centres on ex-boxer-turned-enforcer Douglas ‘Arm’ Armstrong, played by Peaky Blinders actor Cosmo Jarvis.
A trusted heavy for the region’s much-feared drug kingpins, the Devers family, Arm’s personal life is meanwhile dominated by his efforts to do good by his five-year-old autistic son Jack (Kiljan Moroney) and ex-partner Ursula (Niamh Algar).
But the two worlds collide in dramatic and bloody fashion when Arm is asked to kill for the first time and, in attempting to do the right thing, ends up doing the exact opposite for those he loves.
A searing crime drama that brings to mind everything from Tom Hardy’s The Drop to the criminally underrated Australian film Animal Kingdom, Calm With Horses also stars Keoghan as Dymphna, Arm’s best friend and the nephew of gang leader Paudi (Ned Dennehy).
Directed by Nick Rowland, the movie had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, earning rave reviews in the process.
“An engrossing tale that should do reasonably well in home-format placements, and give a definite leg up to the director and his principal collaborators,” Dennis Harvey of Variety writes.
“As a statement of intent, it's unequivocal: Rowland combines striking visual flair with razor-wire character studies,” Wendy Ide of Screen International adds.
Perri Nemiroff of Collider said: “Douglas makes one bad decision after the next but rather than lose faith, Cosmo Jarvis expertly balances Douglas' propensity for violence with his desperation to be a good father, encouraging you to root for him while the walls of his reality close in.”
Damon Wise of The Times is similarly wholesome in his praise, stating: “It's a soulful showcase for Jarvis, who inspires terror and sympathy in equal measure... and the film is an impressive calling card for Rowland.”
“On the outside looking in, Calm With Horses is a crime thriller but once you get deeper into the film, it's about so much more than that,” concludes Danielle Solzman of Solzy at the Movies.
Calm with Horses is set to be screened at the London Film Festival on October 7 and due in cinemas sometime in early 2020.