Donkeys (2010)

James Cosmo in Donkeys (2010)

Facing Up to Life

64 year old Alfred (James Cosmo), a market trader with an abrupt manner, suddenly gets a wake up call when he has a health scare which puts him in hospital. With mention of next of kin by the doctors it forces Alfred to consider his own family who he has became estranged from over the years. But not one to be humble Alfred's attempts to get to reconnect with them doesn't go well especially when he discovers some thing he never knew.

Evidently "Donkeys" is the middle movie of a trilogy of sorts, something to do with a concept called Advance Party filmmaking where 3 movies use the same characters but in different stories. No offence to Morag McKinnon but I don't really care about the concept and am judging "Donkeys" on how I watched it, as a stand alone movie about an old curmudgeon trying to make amends for having not been there for his daughter.

Now "Donkeys" is sadly hit and miss with the actual emotional underbelly of the story not always working, not always coming to the fore like I am sure it was intended. But then "Donkeys" has James Cosmo who is perfectly cast in the role of Alfred whose unkempt look, blunt way of dealing with things and general sense of "I don't care" makes him entertaining. When we see him in hospital in a hospital gown his backside on full view it is a comical scene which speaks volumes about Alfred's mentality. But it doesn't always pay off and the mixture of bleak reality and comedy ends up incredibly uneven and frequently jarring.

What this all boils down to is that "Donkeys" is a real mixed bag with in truth everything about being good; the comedy is good, the performances are good and so is the drama. The trouble is that when comedy and the drama ends up jarring, making it frequently uncomfortable when it flicks from a moment of humour due to Alfred's way of doing things to a moment of bleak reality.