The Mighty Celt in the News
Posted at 1:16 PM (PDT) on Friday, August 19, 2005

Excerpt's from's film review of The Mighty Celt:

When Pearse Elliott's film made its bow at the Berlin Film Festival, it was as part of the 'Kinderfest' strand. However, despite featuring a youngster in the lead, The Mighty Celt is no children's film. Alongside a friendship story, it tackles social and political issues that makes it comparable to Ken Loach classic Kes, even if it's not quite as powerful.

Aside from Elliott's sprightly direction and unsentimental script, The Mighty Celt's chief pleasure is the quality of the performances. While you might expect committed turns from the likes of veteran character actors Robert Carlyle and Ken Stott, it's Gillian Anderson that surprises most. Although 'The X-Files' star proved her acting chops on The House Of Mirth, she truly loses herself in this role. With a faultless Northern Irish accent and a dowdy makeover, it takes several minutes to even recognise her. Tyrone McKenna also gives a spirited performance, a world away from the mannered child stars of Hollywood.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the film is its ability to blend the residue of the Irish conflicts into the everyday. The character of O, solidly played by Carlyle (who is making a habit of humanising villains after playing Hitler in TV film 'Rise Of Evil'), remains a complex figure. Haunted by his past actions, he's nonetheless willing to continue the fight for what he believes in - only this time his words are his weapons. Whether this will appeal to children raised on Harry Potter remains to be seen, but The Mighty Celt is a film that deserves to find an audience.

It feels like a sophisticated Children's Film Foundation movie, but The Mighty Celt has much more to offer, including first-rate performances and a thought-provoking script.

Review by James Mottram
8 out of 10 stars

Thanks Wendy and xfrgg!


Today's Times Online (UK) has an interview with Robert Carlyle which includes comments by Pearse Elliott.

The Mighty Celt belongs to a new generation of films that examine how Northern Ireland has been transformed by the peace process. ...But terrorism dramas are no longer the only game in town. The Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission, launched in 2003, is now attracting international business. ...The era when filmmakers sought unofficial permission from paramilitary groups to shoot in the province is over.

"Those days are long gone," says Elliott, who shot The Mighty Celt in his native West Belfast. "I actually think they are urban myths. The reality is that people from my community are completely over the moon to see a film getting made in their street. Every door was open, there was genuine appetite to see it. People get a buzz out of having Bobby Carlyle and Gillian Anderson walking down their street, especially when their street has only been famous for being bombed out."

Read more.


HEADS UP from The Mirror (UK)!

NEXT WEEK IN TICKET: Gillian Anderson on why she's in love with Britain.