Seemingly never-ending rain and themes of regret are met with a dark humour that is laced throughout Redemption of a Rogue. An array of interesting ideas mixed with comedy, however, is not enough to redeem this film.
Irish playwright, Philip Doherty, is on double-duty as both writer and director in what is a surreal premise with hints of Groundhog Day to it. Though, in the interest of full disclosure there is no cameo from Punxsutawney Phil. Instead we do see the appearance of the Holy Mother herself, the Virgin Mary. This gives you a pretty good flavour of the film.
We follow Jimmy (Aaron Monaghan) who returns to his hometown of Ballbough to make amends after fleeing where we see a number of flashbacks giving us an insight into his past indiscretions. What is striking and weirdly funny in equal measure is that said flashbacks feature Jimmy as his present-day self.
An unexpected death and we are thrust into an odd-meta scenario of the damnation of never-ending rain in what ushers in the religious themes to Redemption of a Rogue. Though the role of the rain to the story becomes absurd but provides some commentary on climate change with a great monologue from Monaghan.
The humour, as dark as it can be with an almost running gag on suicide, is well mixed with silly comical moments. One particular scene takes on a The Lives of Others feel to it where Jimmy seeks to reconcile with his father and where we are introduced to his brother, Damien (Kieran Roche).
The dynamic between Monaghan and Roche gives the film a bit of charm in amongst all the dreariness. As the story unfolds we feel more sorry than anything for our main character but not enough to actually care. And this is where we become lost as there’s no real want to invest in what happens to Jimmy.
You also have the added element of Aisling O’Mara as Masha in what is a love-interest role. It is an entertaining performance giving the film a much-needed lift. Aaron Monaghan though makes the most of what is at his disposal and showcases his abilities to deliver convincingly on the comedy front including rolling a cigarette for the Virgin Mary.
The soundtrack is one of the highlights of Redemption of a Rogue in the way it actually plays a role in the story where in parts it breaks the fourth wall. It is reminiscent of Mad Max: Fury Road where we have the ‘Doof Warrior’ playing elements of the soundtrack.
But instead of guitars fitted with flame-throwers we see drummers in shop windows flash by and even take part in the story in one scene. It is an integral part to the storytelling and elevates moments of comedy relief.
A few too many flashbacks and dream-like sequences make you feel every bit of the films runtime as it does become a bit of a drag with little happening in parts. It’s an entertaining, if muddy, trip into Jimmy’s mind as we ride through the odd reality of events that are weird, unusual but rarely boring.