Updated: Jul 21, 2021
Directed by: #PauricBrennan
Written by: #MarkHampton
After lonesome Joe (Yule) has his car hijacked by a drug addicted couple, the trio embark on a dangerous journey up north to escape the local crime lord seeking his stolen cash and revenge.
Don’t Sell Me A Dog (2021) is an Irish crime film, directed by Pauric Brennan and produced by Bren Enterprises. The unique title refers to Victorian slang for ‘don’t tell me lies’, a phrase which is embodied in the screenplay and the small cast of distinct characters.
This gritty crime drama is grounded in reality, from the immersive direction to the rural Irish countryside setting, everything feels down to earth and very real. Brennan directs with a clear vision, combining smooth long takes for the many driving sequences and shaky handheld camera for intense violence to engross viewers into his world. The visual style has minimal quirks by relying on the setting and character interactions to carry the film, but its charm comes from the realism Brennan authentically captures.
Mark Hampton’s gripping screenplay is character driven and dialogue heavy, allowing the performers to simply sink into their respective roles. Although the trio are at first presented as recognisable stereotypes, with CD (Agar) and Adele (Blake) acting the typical young couple caught up in the crime world and Joe the old widower, it soon becomes clear that not all is as it seems. The film mostly takes place inside a car for its hour and thirty minutes running time, resulting in plenty of scenes to develop its small cast and the lines between who we should trust and who we should not are gradually blurred. This is a narrative with morally grey characters until an immensely satisfying final twist leaves you with an entirely different perspective on the film’s proceedings.
Despite the tough exterior of a gritty crime flick, there is a surprising amount of good comedy and heartfelt moments scattered throughout, which offers a welcome relief from the bizarre situation. One great scene has CD, the foul mouthed thug who has hijacked an old man’s car, ask Joe to turn up his traditional Irish folk music. The film does utilise a group of wonderful actors who are able to carry the heavy dialogue well. Although a good time, the slow pace does hinger the overall entertainment factor and viewing experience, but this does not detract from all of the talent on display here.
Don’t Sell Me A Dog is a not a perfect film, but it doesn’t need to be. It tells a self-contained, small scale story which immerses you in the realistic setting, alongside complex characters. It is a low budget crime drama done right, with great performances and a perfect final twist – definitely worth a look!