In spite of its name, Dublin Oldschool spends very little time actually considering its distinct and characterful setting. Throughout, there’s a general disregard for any storytelling possibilities laid plainly at the film’s feet – meaning it’s not a missed opportunity, so much as it’s hard to tell if there was any opportunity to begin with.
Adapted from a stage play written by Emmet Kirwan, who stars as Jason, it depicts one hedonistic bank holiday in the Irish capital, where raves and afterparties spill into each other and copious quantities of nameless chemicals flow.
A cod-Trainspotting yarn with none of the wit, sense of place, clarity of vision or visual imagination Danny Boyle poured into his masterpiece, Dublin Oldschool is a hodgepodge of stock character types – the aloof cool girl, the goofy best friend, the disdainful ex and the stoner loser all feature – all floating around aimlessly.
Its blank, frustrating lead Jason loves drugs, loses his valuables a lot and hides some vague sadness in his past, but there’s no time to dig into any of this to allow the film any sense of purpose.
A lacklustre, deadeningly clichéd side plot concerning Jason and his homeless addict brother Daniel (Ian Lloyd Anderson) is awarded little space to be explored, instead hurriedly rushed aside for montage after montage of indoor raves, outdoor raves, warehouse raves, any kind of rave – all shot by director Dave Tynan with the conviction of a Heineken advert – which make up the bulk of the piece.
With an embarrassing dearth of meaning or heart, Dublin Oldschool focuses on a vapidly-drawn cast of characters fundamentally unaffected by successive non-events. Superficially glancing at the serious implications of drug use and addiction without deigning to engage, it’s little more than an empty high followed by a numb comedown.
CAST: Emmet Kirwan, Ian Lloyd Anderson, Seána Kerslake
DIRECTOR: Dave Tynan
WRITERS: Emmet Kirwan, Dave Tynan
SYNOPSIS: Over a drug-fuelled weekend in Dublin, Jason reconnects with his estranged brother, a recovering addict living on the streets.