THE HIT PRODUCER (Ireland/16/107mins) Directed by Kevin de la Isla O’Neill. Starring Michelle Doherty, Neill Fleming, Fergus Kealy, Susan Barrett, Rory Mullen, Karl Shiels, Bryan Baker, Blake Norton THE PLOT: Struggling to find the finances for the latest film from hotshot young Irish director Roger Mile (Norton), film producer Katelin Ballantine (Doherty) is willing to be oogled by sleazy money-man Felim Shaw (John Meany) in order to get the money needed. Only Felim is a money-man with bad connections, and Katelin is soon given a do-or-die option to shoot the battered Shaw in front of two crime bosses he’s fallen foul of. Soon, Katelin and former-buddy-turned-heavy Edmund (Fleming) are fighting for survival on the mean streets of Dublin, having to shoot their way out of a dark, deep hole of drugs, hitmen, crooked cops and jerk-happy fixers… THE VERDICT: With the budget of your average hostage tape, Irish-Mexican filmmaker Kevin de la Isla O’Neill (who has spent the last 9 years working in just about every department of the Irish film and TV industry) has managed to make an incredibly slick Dublin-set thriller. It’s also incredibly ridiculous, for the most part, with the sort of dialogue that would make even Jeffrey Archer laugh (“He’s dirtier than a bi-sexual nymph!”).
On the plus side, Doherty does a decent Nikita, and the movie looks great, the latter feat made all the more remarkable by the fact that this crowd-funded film only had €18,000 to play with. For just about everyone involved, The Hit Producer will prove to be more of a solid calling card than any great big box-office hit for their CV. Having won a staggering eight awards at last September’s IndieFEST in California, ‘The Hit Producer’ is nonetheless opening in just one cinema, Dublin’s Movies@Dundrum. The next film from O’Neill should be interesting… RATING: 3/5 Review by Paul Byrne