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Charlie Casanova

Charlie Casanova

Released 11 May 2012
Director Terry McMahon

Emmett Scanlan, Leigh Arnold, Valeria Bandino, Johnny Elliott, Thomas Farrell, Damien Hannaway, Ruth McIntyre, Anthony Murphy
Writer(s) Terry McMahon
Producer(s) Terry McMahon
Origin Ireland
Running Time 94 minutes
Genre Crime, drama, thriller
Rating 16

Irish Psycho.

The best characters in film are always the truly evil ones. The ones so irredeemably bad that we can’t help but be drawn to them. There is something attractive in the fact that they can do and say the things we never would. Charlie Casanova is such a character.

While ducking out from a conference in a Dublin hotel to buy rolling papers, rich and decadent Charlie kills a working class girl in a hit and run accident. From this point until the film’s shocking final moments, Charlie lets a deck of cards make his every decision. As the taboos and morals of society are cast aside, we the audience are taken on a hellish descent into infidelity, rage, abuse, murder and madness.

The success of Charlie Casanova rests on Emmett Scanlan’s (formerly seen in Hollyoaks) total mastery of the lead role. Scanlan fills the screen with his presence, and even when he is absent we can feel other characters glance warily over their shoulders, wondering where he will pop out next. As Charlie rants and raves, condemning the false nature of society or damning the working class that he has nothing but contempt for, the camera lingers on his face in long, unforgiving takes. Not since Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood has there been a film so completely dominated by such a totally immoral yet captivating anti-hero.

The absolute, unrelenting darkness of Charlie Casanova may not be to everyone’s taste, but if you let this film challenge you with its twisted moral slant you could walk out of the cinema looking on your life in a new light. Charlie Casanova is to post-Celtic Tiger Ireland what Patrick Bateman was to Wall Street in the 1980s: the pure embodiment of immorality and the psychopathic desires behind a visage of respectability. With this violent tale writer/director Terry McMahon holds a dark mirror up to the world we live in, and Charlie Casanova is our own unpleasant reflection.

- Bernard O’Rourke