Directed by Stephen Gaffney Starring John D’Alessandro, Aaron Blake, Callan Cummins, Sohila Lindheim Film Review by Rachel Pullen
Not a decade into his directing career Stephen Gaffney has built up quite the back bone of dark gritty hard hitting dramas, be they in short film format of full length indie features such as Class A.
With storylines and styles close to those of Shane Meadows, Gaffney is at home tackling the storylines that make us the audience unnerved and on edge, forcing us to look at the lifestyles and scenarios we spend our day to day avoiding.
Class A wastes no time fulfilling these roles, the indie film follows ‘’Vinnie’’ a medium level drug dealer in his home town who spends his time making transactions and being the voice of reason among his less level-headed co workers and friends.
His role is to guide us, the audience through this world that has been built up around him, almost acting as a narrator to the plot of the film, Vinnie allows us a firsthand look at a world that is unforgiving and desperate at the hands of drug addiction, the money available from selling drugs and the consequences that come along with these actions.
Through a small cast of characters we are able to watch these consequences unfold, each plays a pivotal role in delivering the experience that comes with the involvement of drugs, not only in a direct manner but also its effect on those around us.
Class A could be held guilty for fulfilling stereotypes when it comes to the types of roles we see in drug or gang based films; we have the single mother struggling with addiction, the one trying to break free of the lifestyle, the one who gets high on his own supply and of course the crazy one, and yet while all these exist in ‘’Class A’’ they are delivered in a fashion that still allows us to be engaged in their storyline and what they have to tell.
Although Class A delivers a strong storyline with compelling characters, the movie often is hard to follow, this is an Irish film which uses its environment and heritage to assist with its deliverance, and whilst that is important in the construction of the film it also can make it difficult for those of a non Irish heritage to understand a lot of the dialect and slang terms that are used by the cast. A lot of the script is lost within these accents and despite all of the actors being very competent and delivering good performances, I fear that a lot of the audience will lose sight of the story because of the inability to understand the language.
Class A is an indie film which explores the working class world of drug dealing, outside of the Rolls Royces and piles of cocaine we have become accustomed to from classics such as Scarface, it suits its low budget and despite not having a Hollywood pay check, the use of good actors and a powerful script can allow for a intriguing and compelling piece of cinema to be born.