Director: Roger Tucker | 94 minutes | drama, war, romance | Actors: Andrew Keegan, Jade Yourell, Hugh O’Conor, Guide de Craene, Jenne Decleir, Frank Kelly, Des Braiden, Pat Laffan, Jack Lynch, Britta Smith, Don Foley, Kevin Flood, David Wilmot, Tristan Hickey, Karl Shiels, Joe Cassidy, Joe Gallagher, Sheila Flitton, Siobhan Kelly
The Belgian / Dutch / English / Irish production “Waiting for Dublin” is a film with an infamous history. Shooting stopped in March 2003, while the film was not finished. There were financial problems, the cast and crew could not be paid and as a result, the film was shelved for years. Only after a financial injection from the Belgian producer Corsan could the film be finished and it was ready for the public. The film premiered at the Shanghai International Film Festival and received the audience award at the American Moondance. In the Netherlands we have to make do with the release on DVD.
The story is as simple as it is implausible: American pilot Mike Clarke (Andrew Keegan) makes a bet on New Year’s Eve 1944 in a Chicago nightclub with Al Capone’s cousin that he will succeed in shooting down five enemy planes. Thus he will become a “war hero”. Under the influence of alcohol, Mike is not fully aware of the preconditions: the financial stake turns out to be ten times as high as he thought ($ 10,000 instead of $ 1,000) and he also didn’t know about the Mafia bands that the opposing party, Vito Massucci, maintains …
A few months later, Mike almost won the bet – except for one plane. Actually, he already has five, but there is no evidence of the latter … Mike and his English co-pilot Twickers (Hugh O’Conor) are stranded in an Irish village, their plane is out of fuel and an unwritten law states that independent Ireland keep soldiers prisoner. Mike and Twickers end up with the friendly Paddy, but another participant of the war lives there: the deserted German Dinky (Belgian actor Jenne DeCleir, son of Jan). Of course, it quickly comes to a fight, but the boys manage to turn their initial antipathy into what looks like friendship. Paddy also has a beautiful granddaughter, Maggie (Jade Yourell). Although this lady seems independent and has not fallen on her mouth, she is glad that “new blood” has arrived in her dull village and she is in a hurry to conquer Mike’s heart.
What follows is a rather bland and predictable story, in which Maggie and Mike repel and attract each other, and in which Mike makes several half-hearted attempts to take down the fifth fighter plane, that of the German Dinky. It is completely unbelievable that Dinky lends himself to this, even though he manages to get off his plane on time with the help of his parachute. Nor is the romantic element convincing: it is difficult to imagine what Maggie, after being cheated on by Mike, still sees in him, other than his attractive appearance. He’s pretty rude to her and such a cute and self-assured girl has to see that such a selfish type isn’t the best match for her? However, the actors do what they can with the half-hearted script, which often feels like a farce, with all the caricature characters. It is too silly for a parody, although the insanities of the war do become clear here and there. It is difficult to estimate for which audience ‘Waiting for Dublin’ is now intended, romantics will hardly enjoy the drama, because the chemistry between the two leads is lacking, lovers of war films also have little use for this, and fans of comedy are there actually too little to laugh.