UK’s leading film critic, and broadcaster Mark Kermode, returned as patron to attend the 2017 Isle of Man Film Festival.
As part of his tribute to the Island as a great location for film, he gave the audience of film lovers and makers his thoughts on his favourite Manx movies. Here we divulge into Mark’s top 10 movies filmed on the Isle of Man.
Waking Ned (1998)
Directed by Kirk Jones, Waking Ned is a classic English comedy, starring Oscar award winner, Ian Bannen. Set in a small Irish village, we follow two elderly friends (Jackie and Michael) who hear news of a lucky local winning the Irish lottery and they set about finding who the winner is. They come to discover that the winner is none other than village recluse, Ned Devine. Finding Ned slumped in his armchair, dead from shock, Jackie and Michael decide to claim the winnings for themselves. As the story unravels, the entire village become immersed in the fraudulent scheme to fool lottery officials. The movie turned over more than £50,000,000 at the box office and quickly became one of Britain’s most memorable comedies, and possibly the islands most successful film. Waking Ned earns its place in the top spot.
Locations: Dalby, Cregneash.
Starring Colin Firth, Trauma tells the chilling story of a man who wakes from a coma to discover his wife has been killed. Trying to move on with his life, he soon befriends his female neighbour, but all is not what it seems. Mark said that Colin himself credits this movie with giving him the direction and the focus he was seeking as an actor.
Locations: Ramsey, Cregneash.
Focused around main character Alex Rider (Alex Pettyfer), this action-packed movie begins when Alex’s uncle (Ewan McGregor) dies in suspicious circumstances, thus resulting in Alex being forcibly recruited into MI6. Armed with newly gained SAS skills, Alex embarks on his first mission in Cornwall, where multi-billionaire Herod Sayle is producing state-of-the-art ‘Stormbreaker’ computers. Intending to donate one to every school around the country, Alex must find out what Sayles true intentions are.
Mark’s review concluded: “Whizzo production design, no-nonsense storytelling and cut-to-the-chase pacing, this is extremely likeable and reliably entertaining home-grown fare. The ubiquitous Isle of Man doubles decently for Cornwall, providing eye-catching backdrops (windy hillside passes, sandy beaches, eerie tin-mines) for the various high-powered car, bike and helicopter chases“.
Locations: Foxdale, Douglas, Port St Mary, Ramsey.
Me and Orson Welles (2008)
Partly filmed on the Isle of Man, was ‘Me and Orson Welles’, starring Newcomer Christian McKay, and global superstar Zac Efron. Set in 1937, Director Orson Welles (McKay) leads a stage production of Julias Ceaser and casts aspiring young actor Richard Samuels (Efron) as Lucius. Battling to win both the affection of his love interest and the approval of Welles, Richard must decide if a life in Theatre is worth the cost. Mark said ‘I love “Me & Orson Welles”, because I love the setting and I love the story lines, and the fact that it was shot in the Gaiety. It felt very much like a Manx movie to me. I think that Christian McKay is such a great Orson Welles. I’ve seen a lot of great “Orson Welles” portrayals on screen and his is absolutely the best.’
Location: The Gaiety Theatre.
Written and directed by Philip Ridley (mostly known for “The Krays”), ‘Heartless’ is a British horror about a young man with a large birth mark on his face. Too afraid to leave the house and enter the outside world of gang violence, Jamie is reclusive for most of his life. His interest in photography soon leads to him discovering that the outside world is not all as it seems. Heartless won Best Film at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival.
Location: St Johns.
The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2009)
An ingenious kidnap thriller starring Gemma Arterton, filled with twists and turns from the outset. As the daughter of a billionaire, Alice has been kidnapped for ransom, but is she cunning enough to fool their plan? Writer/Director J Blakeson snapped up the award for Best British Newcomer at the London Film Festival.
Locations: The Mountain View Innovation Centre.
Chico and Rita (2009)
A beautifully animated love story, with jazz music at the heart of it. Rita suspects Chico of being with another woman, leaves him and takes a chance to go to America. Heartbroken, Chico follows her and quickly falls in with the jazz and bebop scene.
He composes a haunting love song which is played all over New York and draws Rita back to him. ‘Chico and Rita’ was a remarkably successful film; winning the Best Animated Feature Film award at the 2011 European Academy Awards, and was even Oscar nominated in 2012 for Best Animated Film! Mark Kermode described the film as ‘breath-taking’.
TT3D: Closer to the Edge (2011)
The Isle of Man TT is undoubtedly the greatest and most famous motorcycle race in the world, it’s the event of the year for the Isle of Man. This documentary explores the question most of us find incomprehensible, “Why do TT riders still travel from around the world to risk their lives in the world’s most dangerous race?”. Smashing box office records to become the highest grossing documentary opener since Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, and selling over 100,000 DVD’s in just two weeks, this documentary sped to success!
Location: Island wide across the TT course
“A ripe costume drama with teeth!” – Mark Kermode.
A fictional story inspired by a 1779 painting of Dido Elizabeth Belle. BELLE examines themes of morality, identity, class, gender and race and brings to life the love story of Dido Belle. Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the colour of her skin prevents her from total acceptance in 18th century aristocratic England.
Location: St Johns, Ballasalla, Castletown.
An independent British comedy film following lead character Richard Thorncroft. Richard is a ‘has been’ actor who reached the peak of his career playing the part of Bruce Mindhorn, a detective in a 1980’s television show. Now washed up and advertising embarrassing products as his only source of income, Richard is called upon by the Manx police force due to the demands of an escaped lunatic, who seems to be unaware that Mindhorn is a fictional character. Mindhorn won the British Film Designers Guild award for ‘Best Production Design Independent Feature Film’.
Locations: Laxey Wheel, Peel, Isle of Man Sea Terminal
Mark believes that the future of the Manx film industry could be based on creating films that have a more local feel to them. He pointed to the success of the comedy film ’Mindhorn’, that was released in 2017, and based on the Isle of Man.
’The Manx film industry is at a point now where it could go anywhere, what you need is regular productions. The real aim of the Manx people community here is to have stuff going on all the time. Regular productions going on all the time, feeding back into the economy.’