a film by Brian Lally
2008 | 108 mins | Ireland
›› 8.5 Hours
an increasingly dark character study of office life.
8.5 Hours by Brian Lally Played like a television drama and there's nothing wrong with that, here we find writer and director Brian Lally present an increasingly dark study of his principal characters; some gay, some straight and some who would prefer not to say.

Set within a software development company in days before the fall of the Celtic Tiger, Lally from reel one opts to detail the tangled love lives of a group of its employees and in particular the ever ambitious, if recently singled Rachel; namely a girl all too eager to move into the expensive heart of the capital, only for her mortgage application to fall short of the required euros. With her boss refusing to give her the pay grade she urgently needs, her hopes of acquiring an apartment with a prodigious Dublin 4 postcode are left in tatters. That is, until she chances upon her "happily married" superior getting physical, hands on style, with engaged employee Eoin. Now surely she wouldn't take advantage of the situation - would she?

8.5 Hours by Brian Lally Never conceived as a gay film per se, this "four stories in one" feature also charts the troubled lives of crack addicted womaniser Tony, whose past comes back to haunt him and the shattered home life of reliable, if somewhat dull Frank. Yet it is the gay element that this review is concerned with and here we find Lally weaving two plot strands together, courtesy of Eoin's out-of-office relationship with his boss Martin, whilst all along confessing to his pansexual best friend Simon, albeit if not to his fiancée, that he's "just a little bit bi," in spite of having lost count of the number of men he's been with.

That such a scenario had the potential for further development, speaks of a film that is all too restrained when it comes to its central theme of sex, with not even a bit of gay lip-service to be had. That said, Lynette Callaghan aided by some OTT lines single-handedly steals the show as the girl willing to do anything to get her place in life, with Lally clearly delighting in the various turns of his unsympathetic characters, including a somewhat gross twist to Tony's tale, courtesy of Geraldine Plunkett's psychotic role as the mother-in-law that could have been.

Laced with a series of telling flashbacks, together with poignant observations on religious life and the greed for money as the Irish economy teetered on the brink of financial ruin, Lally's at times uneven debut feature in taking an emotional look at a group of employees whose infidelities come home to roost, presents blackmail, sexual revelations and handy panky as just another day at the office, one in which Rachel's "dirty little boys" confrontation with her boss is delightfully played for all of its tongue-in-cheek worth. Need more be said?

Gay Visibility - covert. 
Nudity - strictly from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 3 stars. 
available on DVD as part of the Breaking Glass Pictures catalogue 01.March.2011.
starring: Lynette Callaghan / Rachel, Victor Burke / Eoin, Art Kearns / Frank, Jonathan Byrne / Tony,
Geraldine Plunkett / Maggie, Tom O'Sullivan / Martin, Gary Egan / Estate Agent, Clodagh Reid /
Lisa, Fred Ledoux / Simon, Adam Godwin / Niall, Maeve McGowan / Ruth, Ceire O'Donoghue /
Claire, Rachel Lally / Rosemary, Brendan McCormack / David, Martha van der Bly / Lori,
Neil O'Shea / Hotel Manager, Deborah Wiseman / Barbara, Erica Carroll / Fiona,
Fiona O'Dwyer / Tracy and Alison Miles as Martin's wife.
official website: www.8point5hours.com
Best Irish Feature Film at the Clonmel International Film Festival.
Best Actress for Lynette Callaghan at the Yellow Fever International Film Festival.
Copyright 2011 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
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