For many obvious reasons, ‘The Troubles’ has a tendency to permeate any film set in Northern Ireland. Chris Baugh’s Bad Day For The Cut might have the shadow of ‘The Troubles’ touching its edges, but the film works as a revenge thriller which doesn’t need to pull on decades of politics to deliver punchy thrills. Co-written by Baugh and producer Brendan Mullin, this 2017 film is a very modern tale which could be set anywhere, but the Irish setting helps make it something a little more unique. It brings a lot of interesting ideas to the table and it offers up a landscape which most international audiences would be overly familiar with.
Nigel O’Neill plays Donal, a middle-aged farmer who lives a quiet life at home with his ageing mother (Stella McCusker). His simple life is shattered when his mother is killed in an apparent home invasion, but when the killers return to kill Donal it appears that there’s much more going on than meets the eye. He grabs his shotgun and takes-off in search of the truth, leaving vengeance and dead bodies in his wake.
There’s much to enjoy in Bad Day For The Cut. The film might be a revenge tale, but it’s not short of humour – a torture scene using a pot of baked beans immediately springs to mind. Nigel O’Neill manages to bring all the elements of tone together, coming across as determined and out of his depth, sometimes both at the same time. He’s surrounded by a selection of well known Irish acting faces including Susan Lynch and Ian McElhinney, all of whom offer up good performances.
Baugh’s film makes good use of the lush, green Irish countryside but also the glistening modern buildings of Belfast. This visual mix holds a mirror up to Ireland’s past and it’s more prosperous present day. It’s this which illustrates how the violence of ‘The Troubles’ has now given way to a whole host of other gang related crimes. The film might be filled with colloquial language and plenty of asides to Irish culture and history, but that doesn’t mean that this tale of having a gun won’t travel. Bad Day For The Cut is just a modern day western, with the action transposed to Ireland. And it’s all the better for it.