A seasoned actor, Anthony O’Malley (Michael Caine), proposes to unseasoned actor and aide, Tom Quirk (Dylan Moran), a ploy to swindle £50,000 from some gangsters.
You see, whilst researching the criminal underworld in the area, Anthony hears from a somewhat soft edged criminal, Barreller, that he owes money to an unknown party whom he has never met before. Therefore, what Anthony insinuates to Tom, is that if he were to ‘pretend’ to be this ‘unknown party’, then he could retrieve this money with out neither party knowing.
Well, no. Because at first, Tom does not want to have anything to do with this ploy. However, when he goes home to see that his flat has been burnt down, he is intrigued by this proposition a little bit more. So intrigued in fact, that the following day he vocalize's this proposition to his eight year old 'sage-like' niece, whom manages to tip him over the edge, and he agrees to do it.
Still, does this work in the way that Anthony wants it to? Thankfully - yes - Barreller is none the wiser of Tom's charade, and everything seems to works out for 'The Actors' in the end. Though, to be completely honest about it - a little bit too well to be precise - because during their exchange, Anthony emotionally connects with Barreller’s daughter, Dolores.
Moreover, the following day, things get an awful lot worst You see, after Tom's charade, Anthony overhears that the real ‘other party’, Magnani, has contacted Barreller out of the blue, and requests their money. Worst still, is that Barreller told Magnani that he has already given then money to an associate – thus prompting Magnani to send ‘someone’ over to sort this confusion out.
Now from this point onwards, both Tom and Anthony - with help from Tom’s niece - try their best to figure out a way to once more deceive both parties and get away with they’re rouse. For example, Tom intercepts Magnani’s operative and sends him off island. Tom then bluffs Barreller once more by pretending to be Magnani’s operative. And finally, Tom feigns death to divert attention away from his initial rouse.
But ;unfortunately, all of this is done for naught. Which is why what next transpires, is a right pain in the ass I can tell you. As suspicions are aroused - actors are re-housed - gangsters go to a show - and love finds a new beau.
'The Actors' is one of those films which is full of Irish charm. It’s not a stylised film – it’s not a film which takes itself too seriously – it’s not even what I would call a classic film. Instead, it’s a film which is full of adventure and child-like enthusiasm, projected as such, because it is innovatively relayed to the audience from a child’s schools report.
I have to say that I really did like this filmic device, because it just shows the inventive nature of all involved to make this film unique. And is it unique? Well, in some way’s it is. The story is fairly unusual, allowing the author an opportunity to critique the acting profession, as well as the whole ‘crime genre’ in general.
Then theirs the cast - as with the notable exceptions of both Michael Cain and Michael Gambon, I don’t think that I have seen the likes of Dylan Moran playing this type of role before. Dylan is a treat to watch on screen, and this film is a great vehicle to project this stand-up comedian / sit-com actor into a good light. Granted, 'Tom' is a million miles away from his grouchy 'Bernard Black character' which he plays in 'Black Books' – that, to be honest with you, I do rather prefer. Still, he does do well with Tom though.
Lena Headey does a good job too, playing the love interest, Dolores. But if this film did have an area for improvement, it would be in this department. For a start, Lena is just so good looking at times, that she distracts from her own performance. Also, the love story between her and Dylan’s character is just too fleeting to hold any weight.
Still, this is only a minor annoyance really - as Cain and Moran play a great double act on screen, and thrust this film into a better light than if they weren’t in it.
And all done with the luck of the Irish.
THE RATING: B+