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Film Review: Accelerator

An Irish Road movie? Take a quick spin with 'Accelerator'...

Screeching tyres, screaming engines, explosions, masked paramilitaries: Watching one of the most exciting opening sequences in an Irish film for some time, you wonder if the pace can be sustained for the rest of the movie. Unfortunately the answer is no. For after a scorching, playful first 40 minutes, the action in Vinny Murphy's debut feature wanes considerably and the tone becomes a lot more downbeat.

Accelerator the movieThe unlikely monikered Johnny T (Sinlcair Blyth) is a young Belfast joyrider, who is driven from his home town by terrorist vigilantes and flees to his cousin's house in Dublin. There, he clashes with a local car thief who goes by the name of Whacker (Kelty). A race is proposed - Belfast to Dublin, with a ?1200 pot the prize. And so Whacker and his friends travel to Belfast, meet up with Johnny T and his mates, steal six cars and the race is on.

While the first part of the film is upbeat and fast-moving, the remainder becomes bogged down under an apparent desire to moralise, as one by one, the juvenile racers are hospitalised or become disillusioned. Unfortunately, the increasingly dramatic events are not accompanied by any significant character development. The film-makers seem to have taken the lazy way to create a diverse group of characters, thus we have the short-sighted nerd, the sci-fi fans named Spock and Ripley who say "make it so" a lot, and the guy who eats a lot of Crunchie bars and is called, uh, Crunchy.

Nowhere in these characters is there any depth or subtlety and we learn little about the group's motivations or desires. Why Whacker decides to take on the British Army on his todd is never explained, although it makes good cinema as he is riddled with bullets. Accelerator seems to lose its way towards the end, but is still worth watching for several reasons. The action sequences, although not quite 'Gone in 60 Seconds', are slick and professionally executed, and the moody, atmospheric techno soundtrack from Brian Eno and David Holmes is hugely successful.

Stephen Murphy


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