Newcomer and Belfast native McCann, 28, gets the best possible exposure in his role as Jimbo, the sensitive and excitable would be hood who can’t find the necessary bluster to fool anyone that he’s not a good guy. McCann also stars in the popular $30 million British TV miniseries Titanic Blood and Steel this month and his star is firmly on the rise. In Whole Lotta Sole he’s proved he can carry a feature, and he steals a few scenes from veteran Fraser.
Some scenes are true comic stand out, such as Jimbo’s botched fish market hold up. Burdened with a hair trigger submachine gun that really belongs in a museum, when it fires by accident the tension and the misunderstandings build to a comic climax that delighted the Tribeca Film Festival audience at its debut screening.
Belfast was at war for decades, but in Whole Lotta Sole it has finally found its way toward peace and, as George’s new film makes clear, towards reconciliation too.
That reconciliation is personified in Meany’s gruff detective Weller, who has to accept that his policeman son has taken his wife’s Catholic faith rather than his own Protestantism. That Weller can accept the changing times without wanting to change the people that create them is a measure of the new reality in the north that the film quietly celebrates.
From the director of In the Name of the Father and Some Mother’s Son who at one time was a political prisoner in the notorious Long Kesh, George knows Belfast and its history like his own. Whole Lotta Sole is his sweet but never saccharine celebration of a town and its people, and it’s as spirited and funny as the city it presents.