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Black Irish (2008)

Francis Capra , Brendan Gleeson , Brad Gann  |  R |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Francis Capra, Brendan Gleeson, Tom Guiry, Melissa Leo, Michael Angarano
  • Directors: Brad Gann
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 8, 2008
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,988 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Black Irish" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A powerful, "fine study of everyday heroism" (VARIETY) and featuring brilliant performances by an all-star cast, Black Irish is haunting and unforgettable. In South Boston, where Irish roots run deep and Catholic tradition reigns, two brothers face similar hardships but lead far different lives. While older brother Terry descends into drugs and crime, 16-year-old Cole (Michael Angarano) vies to make the state baseball championships--but must struggle to withstand his brother's destructive influence. When the two inevitably clash in a life-and-death confrontation, family ties--and futures--are at stake. DVD FEATURES include a Behind the Scenes of Black Irish and a Commentary Track.


"You do NOT want to miss this film." " of the best movies of the year." --Boston Now

"...hints of greatness...Gann is a filmmaker to watch." "Marbled with thoughtful observations..." "...a fine study in everyday heroism." --Robert Koehler, Variety

"...a great movie with a fantastic cast of actors..." --Dan Deevy, The Cinema Source

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Disintegration of a Family January 13, 2008
BLACK IRISH is one of those little Independent films that manage to give more to the audience than the extreme constrictions of time and budget would suggest. Writer/director Brad Gunn (his first film) manages to tell a story about an Irish family from South Boston that is sincere, realistic, poignant, and profound, and though he worked with a small budget and a shooting schedule of 22 days, he has produced a fine little gem of a film.

The McKay family has problems: father Desmond (Brendan Glesson) lacks work and spends most of his time drinking beer and watching baseball on TV, having been a promising baseball player as a youngster but nipped by the Vietnam War into glum lethargy; mother Margaret (Melissa Leo) resents the shadow of the man she married and works as a social worker to support her family; daughter Kathleen (Emily VanKamp) is pregnant, unwed, and when denied the choice of abortion by her mother's strong Catholicism is determined to have the child by herself, giving it the loving home she feels she has been denied; son Terry (Tom Guiry) is a tortured delinquent who is a gang member and always in conflict with the law; and youngest son Cole (the excellent young 20-year-old Michael Angarano of 'One Last Thing', 'Man in the Chair', 'Snow Angels', 'Lords of Dogtown', 'Seabiscuit', etc) is conflicted by wanting to be a priest versus wanting to be a professional baseball player - he is the good kid and the last hope of his parents.

Terry tricks Cole into accompanying a house break-in and the trouble begins. The financial crisis at home drives Cole to get a job in a restaurant, and drives Desmond to menial work shining shoes.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Irish April 29, 2008
This is a gut wrenching yet heartwarming story with superb acting by most of the cast - real to life. Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent October 9, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
i consider this to be one of the better films i have seen in quite some time. such a good mix of bright and dark, humour and pathos as real life is.

the bid with the bird flying into the window is worth watching the movie even if you don't like the rest of it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a really good surprise July 31, 2010
Wow! Black Irish is a lost masterpiece in the world of drama films. It's about an Irish family that moves to Boston, and while there, each of the five family members (a father, mother, two brothers and a sister) each have their own problems. Their problems range from minor to significant, but ALWAYS constant. This becomes apparent right from the beginning when you see that the two brothers are not exactly on the same page.

If there's one really tiny complaint, it's that the sister problems didn't get much attention in comparison to the rest of her family, but then again, her problems (without revealing anything) have been the topic of choice in several other movies.

The majority of the storyline focuses on the extremely rocky relationship between the two brothers. One brother always appears good and honest, while the other one is definitely a punk and a troublermaker, always picking on his younger brother and forcing him to do things he wants absolutely no part of.

The younger brother has dreams about being a baseball player. That's what he wants more than anything else. However, he has a really hard time convincing his parents that's what he wants, and his mother in particular thinks it's nothing more than a foolish dream. The father however, turns out to be a big baseball fan.

The father has some pretty devastating secrets and might be the most underrated character in the film. You really feel for him.

The drama segments are really interesting because they go through a TON of twists and turns. It really makes you feel for this family and hope they pull through with their numerous problems. You really become attached to each family member.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Movie Review! - [...] - @tss5078 July 23, 2013
This is not an original story, it seems that in recent years we have been flooded with stories that are very similar to this. It was very well done though, with an all-star cast, and a few twists in the story. Black Irish is another story about an Irish family living in Boston. Dad's an alcoholic, Mom is as strict as they come, the older brother is into crime, the older sister is facing a life changing decision, and Cole McKay (Michael Angarano) is stuck in the middle. The story chronicles a year in the life of the McKay family and features many changes that oddly happen all at once. The story wasn't anything special, but it was done in a way that wasn't as predictable as some of the other Boston family films, none of the characters are cops, and there is even some humor thrown in here and there. Being a lifelong baseball fan, that angle of Cole's life was the one I really related to and it helped the film to stand out even a little more. Oscar winner, Melissa Leo, does an amazing job and really puts the emotions into context. Everyone in the McKay family is a tough guy, they don't feel anything, and while she appears to be the strictest one of all, she's the one who really expresses the emotions that everyone must have felt. Angarano wasn't bad either, but I've seen him in things before and as usual, he lacks any kind of expression, he just always seems to go with the flow and do an adequate job, but nothing else. The big surprise of this film was seeing Tom Guiry, A.K.A. Smalls from the Sandlot as a tough, Boston-area, criminal. Seeing the sweet, innocent, kid I grew up know as Scotty Smalls, turn into a fowl mouthed, tough ass, drug dealer was pretty funny. Overall, Black Irish isn't a bad film, it's entertaining and it's unpredictable. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated
I liked this movie when I first saw it. The acting is alright and the story is pretty thick but simple. Read more
Published 7 months ago by keepitprivate
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay
Okay, but heavy on the Boston clichés.
Some of this is true to fact; some of this is hokey
and downright corny (the Irish lead actor lays it on too hard) -... Read more
Published 8 months ago by J. R. Dean
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Irish DVD
Black Irish movie shows the disfunction that exist within a family among each member. Yet in the end the family structure must not loose it's foundation of love even when going... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Iceman
3.0 out of 5 stars CRY LIKE A GIRL, DRINK LIKE A MAN
This is a film about family drama with a little bit of humor tossed in. The movie appears to have all the pieces of a decent film, yet afterwards, I couldn't help but think, "Is... Read more
Published on June 14, 2012 by The Movie Guy
3.0 out of 5 stars CRY LIKE A GIRL, DRINK LIKE A MAN
This is a film about family drama with a little bit of humor tossed in. The movie appears to have all the pieces of a decent film, yet afterwards, I couldn't help but think, "Is... Read more
Published on June 14, 2012 by The Movie Guy
2.0 out of 5 stars just ok
This was just ok, not that great. The father's acting was good. The bad brother's acting was good. Everyone else was kind of forget-able..
Published on May 2, 2012 by missc1115
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sacred and the Secular
"Black Irish" is a captivating, moving, faithfully rendered, coming of age story set in south Boston. Read more
Published on January 16, 2012 by Tim Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a great film
Short Attention Span Summary:

1. There is a stereotyped White Trash Irish-American family (the mother is apparently native-born Irish).
2. Read more
Published on February 6, 2011 by Lemas Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars CAIN AND ABEL!
'Black Irish' is a pretty straightforward film with believable performances by all. The tale of a lower class Irish family with more than its share of turmoil and sorrows keeps... Read more
Published on June 15, 2010 by ! MR. KNOW IT ALL ;-b
5.0 out of 5 stars KUDOS FOR THIS INDIE FILM
tHIS is a beautifully crafted film. I understand it was made in 22 days. Clearly small budget, but not small scope, poignancy, or amatuerish. Read more
Published on December 5, 2009 by Sidney B. Simon
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