Magazine article Screen International

'Pickups': Dublin Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Pickups': Dublin Review

Article excerpt

Aidan Gillen delivers an entertaining - and occasonally dark - meta-riffon a jobbing actor's life

Dir. Jamie Thraves. Ireland, 2017, 75 mins.

Pickups is a low-fi, free-wheeling, 75-minute meta-riffwith TV actor Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones, Love/Hate, The Wire, Queer As Folk) playing an iteration of himself, an actor named Aidan who lives alone with a dog, Echo, struggles to connect with his (real-life) teenage daughter, and has mixed feelings about fame. He has a bad back, can't sleep, and is playing a serial killer – the element which eventually lifts this good-natured Dublin-set whimsy into pure fiction. We hope.

Breezing onto the big screen like a small-screen observational comedy, complete with a deadpan voiceover, Pickups has a rather delicious dark tarry underpinning which repeatedly bubbles up to the surface.

The last time the off-kilter double act of director Jamie Thraves and actor Gillen got together the result was the likeable odd-couple comedy Treacle Jr in 2010, and they also made The Low Down a decade previously. Time has moved on, and Game of Thrones has turned Gillen, or Littlefinger, into a global star (much of the film's plot revolves a potential stalker). How that might affect the commercial prospects of Pickups is unknowable - as is whether a unique little essay like this might play on a cable giant, or stick to the festival circuit after premiering at the Dublin Film Festival.

Pickups is essentially a scratchy B-side, delivering bursts of amusing "real-life" moments for the celebrity Aidan which are scored by black fantasy and acerbic notes. …

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