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Waking Ned Devine
Someone in the small Irish village of Tulaigh Morh has won the lottery, and two men are set upon getting to know the town's new rich person. The good news is that Ned Devine won, the bad news is that...  View more >

Starring Ian Bannen, David Kelly, Susan Lynch...  View more >

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Reviews Summary


Please Note: Reader Reviews are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions regarding this movie, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

Jan 25, 2000
People had been telling me that this is a good movie for weeks and weeks before its scheduled release. So when it finally comes out, it's only playing at one theater in the whole Milwaukee area! (sigh) So, I wait yet another week until it opens in my time zone. Then it's sold out, and everyone is complaining about how it's only in three theaters.

Only knowing that this is a movie about a someone who wins the lottery and then dies, I took the word of my family and those two thumb guys, Siskel and Ebert. Were they wrong? No, not really. While this movie probably doesn't have the same appeal as The Full Monty, I found it quite good.

This is a story of 52 people in a small / poor Irish town. One of them has won the lottery, but who?

Jackie O'Shea (Ian Bannen) hatches a plan to befriend whomever the lucky winner is in order to cash in on the windfall. Teaming up with his good friend Michael O'Sullivan (David Kelly) they try to figure out which one of them has won.

Once they finally figure it out, they have a problem, the person who has won, is now dead. Not wanting to let the lottery winnings go to waste, a new plan is devised that will allow the winnings to be collected and put to good use.

I thought the character interaction was very good. You get to learn a little bit about many different people. This allows you to become a part of the story, to experience their highs, and their lows. However, much like The Full Monty, the scenery isn't much to look at, but the story is what makes this a good film.

See it if you can find it.

Copyright 1998 - Ron Higgins No unauthorized publication or distribution without the consent of Ron Higgins.

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
Waking Ned Devine (1998)

During our vacation to Ireland, we toured the grounds of a castle and had tea and brown bread in a white-washed, thatched cottage. At one bed and breakfast, I discovered that the 'presence at the lake' mentioned in the travel book was a story trumped up for tourists.

What I'm suggesting is the Irish can be very conscious of the stereotype that names their country a quaint place and their culture a constant source of charm. I can think of a dozen films shot in Ireland, films whose stories are enhanced by the natural beauty.

One might go into 'Waking Ned Devine' skeptical about another narrative recording the adventures of colorful townspeople outwitting a more powerful force. It's been done, hasn't it now?

The thing is, "Waking Ned Devine' does it so well that I forgot clichés and lost myself in laughter.

Jackie O'Shea (Ian Bannen) and Michael O'Sullivan (David Kelly) have maps of Ireland all over their faces and aging bodies. In one of the funniest touches of farce in recent film, we see them on speeding motorcycles - one completely naked and the other almost there. This gag is only one in a series of quirky moments. Whether the pair is involved with inserting a dead man's dentures or eulogizing one still among the living, these actors are natural and believably human. Bannen perfects his expressions as a man who can be crafty or wise. Kelly is cast well as the mild Michael who never tells a lie but must utter one the size of the Ring of Kerry.

The early episodes of the film lightheartedly follow the exploits of the friends as they attempt to find the winner of the Irish lottery. From the newspaper they know someone in their hamlet of Tullymore has won. In a few delicious and cynical sequences we observe Jackie and wife Annie (Fionnula Flanagan) cozying up to neighbors they think might be the new millionaire. Annie bakes a meat pie, while Jackie treats the drinkers at Fitzgerald's to 50 pounds worth of rounds. All this for nothing, as Jackie discovers it is Ned Devine who has the lucky numbers.

If we were face to face, I'd lean toward you with this detail, me finger in yer buttonhole: Ned Devine is dead!

Here's the genesis of the elaborate ruse, as Jackie and Michael scheme to claim the money for themselves. So we see the nude dashes on a motorcycle, Michael's whiskey-induced courage, Jackie's temporary exile from his own house, all in the name of duplicity. The comedy becomes even broader when the lottery official (Brendan F. Dempsey) must verify Ned Devine's identity - he will return to the town and question some of its 52 residents. Will it work when the old liars attempt to lure the entire population into collusion?

It's not only in scenes with the two old friends that director Kirk Jones displays solid comic timing. It's also when he's directing what amounts to an ensemble cast of fine actors. There's a boy who has precocious discussions with a priest. A pub owner/appliance repairman who won't return a toaster to the biddy who won't pay for it. And in the subplot dealing with love, Pig Finn (James Nesbitt) is continually pleading with raven-haired Maggie (Susan Lynch) to ignore the stench of pigs on him, refuse the attentions of another suitor, and marry the one she really loves.

The characters and the ways they are developed enlarge the quality of the film. Sketching in secondary characters - in addition to extras to flesh out the 52 residents - is risky by successful.

Music accompanies many scenes appropriately. Flutes and whistles extend the cultural trademark of instruments. A scene in which a lone recorder-player precedes four pall bearers, their arms joined under the real Ned Devine's coffin, smacks of self-parody. To tell the truth, I wouldn't mind adding the soundtrack of this film to the slot beside my Chieftains CDs.

A slight problem with tone arises at the end. Foreshadowing frequently lets us know that these characters are capable of wacky behaviors. But one bit of dark humor - although unchallenged in its hilarity -goes somewhat too far over-the-top.

If you are fond of things Irish, you'll love 'Waking Ned Devine.' It's being hyped as a small, brilliant film, but its narrative devices and focused acting make it more than a bit of blarney and brogue.

[--- Good ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
A very nice, entertaining film. Some of the dialog is hard to follow because of the Irish accents, but that doesn't take anything away from the story. If you are a fan of British comedy, you'll like this movie.

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
Must See!

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
A wonderfully entertaining movie with a cleverly woven plot. I'm surprised this movie hasn't gotten more publicity. Chris

[--- Good ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
If you want a "feel good" movie, you'll be happily suprised with "Waking Ned Devine". Every member of this small Irish community is speculating on who will win the Irish lottery and what they'll do with it. When Ned Devine doesn't show up for the celebration, friends take dinner to his cottage, only to discover the elderly Devine stone cold dead with a big smile on his face and the winning ticket clutched tightly in his hand. After trying to wipe the grin off his face so no one else realizes Ned's won, Devine's closest friend feels guilty for coveting the winnings. Through a dream, he learns what Ned would have wanted for his neighbors and their small Irish village--get the money and share the wealth. There's a certain satisfaction in seeing an entire community pull together for the common good, legal or not, despite one wonderfully wicked dissenter. Throughout the movie the viewer cries, cringes, and laughs with the on-screen community, but also grabs a few chuckles as a member of the "fly-one-the-wall" audience. A good example is when Ned's scrawny elderly friend jumps on a motorcycle, wet and buck-naked, and rushes to meet the lottery man at Devine's tiny cottage. Here's to the Irish, whose actors have pulled off a touchingly funny movie.

[--- Good ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
It's refreshing to see a funny, viewer-friendly comedy that just lets you sit back, enjoy the ride, and not have to think too much, yet it simultaneously doesn’t insult your intelligence. That’s Waking Ned Devine, the story surrounding a tiny Irish village in which a resident has won the lottery. A combination of The Matchmaker and The Full Monty, it’s a well-acted, well-written piece. Even better, two big payoffs at the end leave you with the realization that this cute little movie offers a bit more substance than one might think. Yes, there’s a moral, or a message if you like that word better. That's a good thing.

10-point scale rating: 8

May 18, 2003
"Waking Ned Devine" is a comedy abourt a guy name Ned Devine who died before learning he'd won the lottery. The people of Tulaigh Morh has appointed two men, one of them claiming to be Ned Devine in order to claim his fortune for the Irish village. A very funny and very charming movie.

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