Long before there was The Gentleman, or Snatch or even Lock, Stock et al, there was I Went Down. Featuring a relatively young and unknown Brendan Gleeson and Peter McDonald, who was recently seen in RTE’s Dublin Murders, I Went Down is an off the wall relatively light-hearted (if such a thing exists) modern Irish gangster flick. Long before Dublin and other parts of Ireland, (aside perhaps from “the black north”) were riddled with the scourge of gangland violence, before even Nidge and co arrived on our screens with Love/Hate, I Went Down tells the story of “Git”, played by McDonald who has just been released from jail. He is immediately called upon to rescue his best mate from a to beating at the hands of loans sharks.
As a result Git finds himself on the wrong side of a local mob boss who divides that Git has to pay for his mistake. This results in a trip to Cork which turns out to be more complicated than it needs to be. His job is made harder not least because of the relative inexperience of his accomplice Bunny, who has a habit of acting rashly. What results is mix ups and disasters riddled with hilarity.
There is an relative innocence about I Went Down, because despite the fact that it was made at a time when the troubles in the north were fresh in the mind it was made at a time before the gangland violence in Dublin had become part of daily news.
What makes the audience route for Git and Bunny is that, despite their relative short comings they are more sympathetic than other characters in the story. They are more the lovable rogue type than the mastermind criminal. As a result you are able to hope that they succeed without feeling guilty about it.
Despite more realistic and sinister events making I Went Down in danger of glamorising violence we are able to overlook that and suspend our disbelief enough to treat the main characters as cult heroes.