Charlie Casanova (18)

Terry McMahon, 94mins. Starring: Emmett Scanlan, Leigh Arnold

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The Independent Culture

Taking a democratic approach to audience-baiting – it wants to offend everyone, equally – Terry McMahon's sulphurous satire revolves around Irish businessman Charlie (Emmett Scanlan), a handsome sociopath whose mind starts falling apart at a weekend conference spent with his wife and friends.

After failing to report his running down of a pedestrian on the way, Charlie commits all of his life-decisions to the draw of a card – a nod to Luke Rhinehart's The Dice Man – and thereby gives full licence to his sadistic urges and bilious monologues of hostility.

The latter includes possibly the world's most sinister stand-up routine in which he takes to task the entire working-class culture of Ireland. McMahon's elaborate, would-be Joycean script is less clever than he thinks it is, while his fractured story-telling tests plausibility as much as patience.

But the film really has something in its star: imagine Hugh Grant's saturnine Irish cousin crossed with the mad-bastard glare of the young Christopher Walken. Emmett Scanlan projects every atom of this corrupt and violent misanthrope as though his life depended on it.