17th Jan2018

‘Bad Day For the Cut’ Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Nigel O’Neill, Susan Lynch, Józef Pawlowski, Stuart Graham, David Pearse, Anna Próchniak, Stella McCusker, Ian McElhinney, Brian Milligan, Shashi Rami, Lalor Roddy, Ryan McParland | Written by Chris Baugh, Brendan Mullin | Directed by Chris Baugh


Northern Ireland is pretty well known for having its fair share of “troubles” and as such makes for a pretty bleak backdrop to a dark, twisted and, at times, awkwardly funny tale of revenge, a camper van road trip, suicide and the murder of a mans mother… First rule of being a baddie, don’t mess with another guys mother, especially the quiet farmer type.

Donal (Nigel O’Neill) is a quiet lonesome farmer still living at home in a quiet Irish village with his mother (yes, his mother) Florence (Stella McCusker) . Donal spends his days fixing up the farm and drinking himself to sleep. When we meet him the only real thing he has going on are his trips to the pub and the restoration of a camper van he received in a pretty shitty trade. Things are fairly hum drum till he wakes from his drunken stupor one night to find someone has broken into the farmhouse and murdered his poor old ma.

We assume this was a home invasion gone wrong until a few nights later Donal is taken at gun point and forced to hang himself. The suicide is bungled and Donal manages to brutally (by means of car bonnet and sledgehammer) dispatch of one of his attackers. Obviously there is more to this than meets the eye and Donal wants answers, why would anyone want to kill his dear, sweet, innocent mother? Or was she?. After forming an unlikely alliance with his second attacker Bartosz (Jozef Pawloski) in exchange for finding his sister, the two go on a road trip of murder, intrigue and bloody brutal revenge. Our protagonist is about to find himself in a world he does not understand and find out some secrets that will shake his very foundations.

Incredible… There I said it, I might as well cut to the chase. Bad Day For the Cut is about as good an independent flick you are going to see any time soon. You will spend the start of this movie just waiting in anticipation, not really knowing what exactly is coming your way then… BANG! like Donal’s sledgehammer to the face it kicks into high gear and barely lets up.

Writer/director Chris Baugh, in his feature length debut, has smashed this out the park in my view. Yes,Bad Day For the Cut is dark and brutal but the director is smart enough drop in some comedic moments without changing the feel and tone, with an expertly written script that doesn’t rely on force feeding us exposition. We are allowed to find out who these characters are and there motivations through there actions and subsequent reactions. That is the sign of a truly good director who knows exactly what he has and what his actors are capable of. Baugh has a real sense of the Shane Meadow’s in tone and feel (you all know I love Shane) and I feel this is a director we should all be looking out for going forward.

But what can I say about actor Nigel O’Neil? Fantastic and utterly believable, one moment he seems like such a fish out of water in all this chaos, the next he is completely at home in the midst of the hyper realistic brutality. Not to mention the sense of the home-grown “everyman” he brings to the film. Of course every leading man needs a solid as hell supporting cast around him. Susan Lynch (Waking Ned Devine) Józef Pawlowski (Warsaw ‘44) Stuart Graham (TV’s The Fall) David Pearse (Vikings), and Ian McElhinney (Rogue One, Game of Thrones) all provide stellar support with a massive shout out to Susan Lynch as Frankie Pierce who is magnificent as the ruthless bitch that she is, not enough can be said for the way the Queen’s C-Word just rolls off her tongue.

Bad Day for the Cut is more than just gritty violence, it’s impressive as hell… and it’s been winning over critics and industry insiders as it’s made stops along the festival circuit! Nominated for Breakthrough Producer for Brendan Mullin and Katy Jackson at the 2017 British Independent Film Awards; while Chris Baugh was nominated for Best First Feature at the Philadelphia Film Festival.

With a tight script and wonderful performances, this is a definite must watch. Massively overlooked and hugely underrated… I loved Bad Day For the Cut.


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