This is a film that is hard to place in a category so I will call it a drama. It is about the man in the title Mister John who has moved to Singapore where he has made a life for himself with a beautiful wife and child and a bar which is called, imaginatively enough - Mister John. Well the film starts with his death and his brother Gerry Devine (the excellent Aiden Gillen) has to go over there to sort out affairs. He seems to be happy to go as he is having some marital problems - these are revealed as the film progresses and are done in a really original way.
Meanwhile in Singapore he starts to warm to the charms of the place and the locals and the seemingly more laidback way of life. He also starts to get involved with the bar which seems to be selling a great deal more than cocktails, if you get my drift. So there are lots of beautiful young girls around the place who seem eager to make everyone have a `good time'. This is not a sexploitation film though, all of that is incidental, but in a country that is all smiles, booze and anything goes it is easy to see how ones head might get turned.
This is a slow drama that deals with a number of issues and definitely has a start and a middle the ending will be for the individual viewer to work out, but with all good things it is the journey as much as the destination that matters. Gillen is always excellent and he does not fail to disappoint here so a nice film, that will make you think but not too strenuously - this is one for those who like things a bit off the beaten track.
Husband-and-wife team Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy return with their second film `Mister John', starring Aidan Gillen as Gerry. He's had to travel to Singapore because his brother John had an untimely death.
Gerry has never been to see John in Singapore before, and in turn never met his wife Kim (Zoe Tay) and teenage daughter Sarah (Molly Rose Lawlor). The title of the film refers to the name of Johns bar, which Kim now has to run on her own. Gerry seems to have enough problems of his own, not least his dwindling relationship with his wife and daughter. Its an excuse that Gerry takes advantage of, the distraction of foreign climes and John's demise are at first enough to keep him occupied. He thrives on taking on the responsibility of standing in for John, he even wears John's clothes. Kim keeps her grief in check too, mostly to lessen the pain on her daughter.
`Mister John' is a clever film, and a very subtle one too. This beautifully shot film could have gone down many routes, but instead paints an opaque picture of a mans struggles within himself. Little is known about a lot of things, and you can't help but ask a lot of questions. Why had Gerry not seen John in such a long time? Why has his marriage broken down? Was John's death an accident? Is there more to John's business than we are shown? Who is Kim, and can she be trusted? None, and many others, go unanswered.
Rather than become frustrated by any lack of closure, you're fascinated with Gerry's passive acceptance of his troubles. Gerry does slowly reveal his impotence and vulnerability, issues which plague his relationship with his wife and brother. Its an incredibly subtle performance from the excellent Aidan Gillen, you witness a man who has finally come to terms with loss, and by doing so breaks down whatever wall was stopping him from moving on.
A film that has been much neglected and its truly a shame. Aiden Gillen is exceptionally good, and it feels like one of those performances that make reputations. Its slow, there is little to no action, but it is utterly engrossing. In a sense it reminds me a bit of Timeout (cantet) in that the real story is one that is always off screen. Very worth seeing.
Plot and acting were complete rubbish. The carefully framed shots gave an impression of an island devoid of traffic and people - the reverse is of course true. With an abundance of tropical scenery such as the Johor Strait and Pulau Ubin, the director chose to ignore this with the result that the whole film could have been shot in a studio in Europe and it would have still been fit only for the bin. I wish that I had never bought it.