Contemporary World Cinema | 2016 | 99 minutes
SIFF Says:It’s always the mild-mannered ones you have to watch out for. That’s the lesson learned by a succession of thugs who push middle-aged farmer Donal (Nigel O’Neill) to the brink. Donal lives in the lush Northern Irish countryside, taking care of his elderly mother (Stella McCusker), having a pint at the pub, and occasionally working on customizing his camper van. This quiet existence is forever shattered when Donal awakens to find his mother brutally murdered in an apparent home invasion gone bad. Later, the killers return to finish off Donal, but he manages to capture one of them, Bartosz (Jozef Pawloski), a young man forced into criminality to protect his sister from human traffickers. As Bartosz agrees to provide information on the killers, with ties to the mob and the old IRA, the stage is set for a crackling revenge thriller―only Donal is no superhuman payback machine a la Charles Bronson. In his debut feature, director Chris Baugh does not aestheticize the bloody mayhem that follows. Each gangster is dispatched in a realistic and visceral manner that conveys the true cost of violence, but Baugh also allows humor to seep through―as Donal gets increasingly resourceful in his MacGyver-like methods of execution. Each character is also wisely given an extra layer of nuance, making the hugely entertaining Bad Day for the Cut a deeper, richer meditation on violence begetting violence.
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