I Went Down

on June 24, 1998 by Ray Greene
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   Shaggy, good-natured and easy to enjoy, "I Went Down" is a winning Irish miniature in the caper comedy mode. Though nothing much ever seems to be at stake, several wry performances and an unhurried, expansive tone make director Paddy Breathnach's lark of a movie a pleasant-if ethnically specific-good time.
   Git (Peter McDonald) is fresh out of jail when he runs afoul of petty mobster Tom French (Tony Doyle). His penance is to team with a taciturn hardcore criminal known as Bunny (Brendan Gleeson) for a mission impossible: to snatch a garrulous French associate named Grogan (Peter Caffrey) out of enemy hands.
   The road is the journey in "I Went Down," with the predictable growing bond of mutual respect gradually rolling in and enveloping McDonald and Gleeson like a fine Irish mist. But these are two eminently likeable performers, and Caffrey, in a wicked parody of the Irish gift for gab as Grogan, makes for an enjoyable third.
   Though many an indie filmmaker is drawn to (and runs afoul of) the Big Artistic Statement, not every movie has to swing for the fences. In its modest way, "I Went Down" is clearly a film that is everything its makers wanted it to be. Think of it as the cinematic equivalent of a pleasant night in an Irish pub: a few laughs, a tall tale or two, and an entertaining way to pass a little time.    Starring Brendan Gleeson, Peter McDonald and Peter Caffrey. Directed by Paddy Breathnach. Written by Conor McPherson. Produced by Robert Walpole. A TSG release. Comedy. Rated R for pervasive strong language, some sexuality and violence. Running time: 107 min.
Tags: Brendan Gleeson, parody, jail, mobster, Peter McDonald, Peter Caffrey, Paddy Breathnach, comedy
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