The hairdresser genre isn’t one that’s often visited but can a group of Dublin hair stylists be a new comedy highlight, or will it be last year's look?
Going into this movie I was incredibly excited, as it was the closing movie of the Dublin International Film Festival. This may have impacted my view of the movie, as I was alone when I saw it and obviously comedies are best viewed with an audience.
Deadly Cuts is a black comedy set in a working-class Dublin hair salon called Deadly Cuts run by Michelle (Angeline Ball). Deadly Cuts (the salon) is under constant threat, whether it be from local gang leader Deano (Ian Lyold Anderson) or by gentrifiers trying to turn the local community into a future development site. Michelle and her workers must overcome numerous obstacles, including winning a prestigious hairstylist competition and of course getting away with murder.
The greatest asset Deadly Cuts has at its disposal is the fact that it falls into the category of being completely different to most other movies you’ll see. With a North Dublin accent on nearly every bleedin’ character. It resonates with all the vibes of The Commitments, of course without as much sexism. The whole gentrification side of the story is very topical to Dublin, with the looming possibility of the whole county just being turned into just one massive hotel being a daily threat. Deadly Cuts manages to fight back against this gentrification with all the fight that you’d expect Dubliners (the people, not the band) to have.
While Deadly Cuts shows that there is still some jingle jangle left in the auld triangle, most of the comedy seems to fall flat. The reason for this might be that the humour does seem to feel quite localized to mostly being Dublin referential comedy, so if you have connections to the capital you may get great insight into every joke but for the rest of the country, maybe not so much.
Lastly, Deadly Cuts manages to achieve the unique achievement of being about an awful lot but never just one thing. The salon must win a hairstylist competition to have enough money for the gentrifiers to leave of course, but towards the beginning, they accidentally murder someone and that becomes just a background issue for some of the movie and it turns out murder is super illegal, even if the victim was deserving of it. This constant shunning of either side of the plot just feels jarring and takes away from what might have been a great movie.
Overall Deadly Cuts is unquestionably proud of what it is. It is representing Dublin as best as it can, and in that regard, it succeeds. However, the humour just never seemed to land for me, with many of the jokes just being shocking for the sake of it. While silly humour is normally what I love, it just seemed to be too predictable, in a plot that had an issue of Deadly Cuts (the salon) at risk of being forgotten for being stuck in the past, maybe Deadly Cuts (the movie) had the same issue.
Writer/Director: Rachel Carey (Full-Length Debut)
Angeline Ball (The Commitments)
Erika Roe (Herself)
Shauna Higgins (A Date for Mad Mary)
Aidan McCardle (Ella Enchanted)
Victoria Smurfit (About a Boy)
Ian Lyold Anderson (Herself)
Pauline McLynn (Father Ted)
Running Time: 1h 30 mins