Wild Goose Lodge, a historical drama that focuses on a period in Irish history where an uprising against British rule was starting to foment, is something of a conundrum; On the one hand, all the ingredients of a great story are present – murder, revenge, betrayal and political instability – and yet the film suffers from a narrative that too often gets mired in its own dull dialogue and a hugely bloated running time that would cause even the most avid historian to think twice before they settled in to their seat.
Set in Louth in 1816, it tells the story of a local family who find themselves drawing the wholly unwanted attention of a band of local militia known at the time as Ribbonmen. Caught amongst the occupying British forces and a community who need a scapegoat for their outrage, the Lynch family have only a steadfast priest standing between them and blazing retribution.
The film has all the hallmarks of a being a labour of love for those involved and the largely amateur cast have clearly put a lot of effort into bringing this tale to life. Unfortunately the cracks are there for all to see and a script that doesn’t so much explain events as beat you over the head with them repeatedly becomes tedious and repetitive.
Directors Paul Macardle and William P. Martin have made the most of their miniscule budget and the on-location filming does lend a stoic and picturesque backdrop to events, while Dave Duffy adds his considerable talent to the mix as the priest trying to broker a kind of peace between the warring factions. The rest of the cast are hamstrung by the script but the spirit of what’s being attempted is still evident and is something to be applauded. It’s a shame then that the overall result is still such a chore to sit through.
Wild Goose Lodge is a story about a time that ought to be remembered and spoken about in the history of this fair isle, when communities came together to fight back against perceived oppression with often mixed results. The era of the Ribbonmen was a turbulent and politically unstable time in our country and regrettably this film is not the depiction that that time deserves.