TIRFF 2017: The Flag
Declan Recks The Flag has aspirations of being a broad heist comedy, but never seems to get past its sitcom style premise. Returning to Ireland to bury his father, Harry Hambridge (Pat Shortt) discovers a letter from his late grandfather claiming a moment of heroics not normally associated with the family name. Believing his granddad was among the individuals who defiantly raised the tricolor over the GPO in 1916, and tired of his family being the laughing stock of the community, a drunken Harry pledges to steal the flag back from the British barracks where it now resides.
Though reluctant to embark on such a quest once sober the next morning, Harry realizes that backing out now would only hurt his family’s reputation even further. Traveling to Britain with his pal Mouse Morrisey (Moe Dunford), Harry assembles a team of not quite experts to pull off the perfect heist…or at least the next best thing. Along the way, the bumbling Harry even manages to rekindle a friendship with his old flame Liz (Simone Kirby), whose current boyfriend is keen on getting in on the heist.
While Pat Shortt and Simone Kirby display good chemistry they cannot mask the generic nature of the script. As amusing as it may be seeing a naked Harry chased by a pair of thugs, the majority of the humour in The Flag falls flat. It is the type of comedy where the audience can see the punchlines coming well before they actually land. This is especially noticeable considering that the bulk of the heist elements rely heavily on comedic beats. Try as it might, this flag is not worth waving.