Rudderless maybe but not without heart

Rudderless maybe but not without heart Billy Crudup stars in 'Rudderless'

I like a film with positive messages, a redemption theme (not necessarily religious) and maybe even a feel-good ending. But often such films can be predictable, preachy, overly sentimental, and even corny.

I couldn’t accuse Rudderless (TG4) of any of those faults. The unpredictable storyline featured a school shooting, some great songs and a family breakup, but somehow managed to be uplifting. It avoided all the possible clichés it might have fallen into.

A father whose son was involved in a school shooting finds songs the son had written and gains some insight by performing them himself, eventually with a young band – but is he showing respect to his son’s memory or just exploiting it?

Billy Crudup isn’t that endearing as the crude, boozy father – he drinks too much and has difficulty coming to terms with the tragedy. Felicity Hoffman (wife of director William H. Macey who plays a bar owner running an open mic night with very mixed results) is in fine form as the boy’s mother, now in a new relationship.

The language is rough at times and gratuitous as usual, but on the whole it’s an absorbing film with lots of heart and little in the way of cheap sentiment.

Meanwhile, it was another sad day for Ireland on Tuesday of last week when the Westminster Parliament voted to extend UK abortion laws to Northern Ireland if the Assembly wasn’t up and running by October 21.

Many of those who resented Brexit being imposed on Northern Ireland welcomed the imminent imposition of abortion. Those who identify as Irish Republicans are now colluding with the British parliament to facilitate the aborting of living Irish babies.

Though the irony is obvious you rarely if ever hear it pointed out by journalists who are quick to jump on any perceived inconsistency in pro-life positions.

There were interesting exchanges on the matter on Today With Seán O’Rouke (RTE Radio 1, Wednesday).  Generally I wouldn’t be a fan of Northern Unionist politicians, but DUP MLA Jim Wells was impressive on the issue. He flew the flag for the human rights of unborn children, and pointed out that the Northern Assembly had voted democratically against more liberal abortion laws for Northern Ireland.

He reminded us of the thousands of lives saved by Northern Ireland’s laws and suggested that this new development meant there was no incentive any more for Sinn Féin to agree to re-launching the Assembly – if they wait until the end of October they will have gained two of their main objectives with little effort on their part.

Goretti Horgan, feminist activist and lecturer from Ulster University, was pleased with the previous day’s events. She attempted to justify her position by saying that unborn children were only ‘potential human beings’ at the early stages of pregnancy.


So much for inclusivity then.  It was like listening to a re-run of our own referendum, except, as Wells pointed out there was going to be no citizens forum, no referendum, no extensive debate.  You’d think genuine democrats would have been uneasy, but then abortion ideology tends to sweep all before it and corrupt democracy, law, medicine, journalism, education and more.  I remember when opposition to abortion was one of the few things that united the nationalist and Unionist communities … now they’re sleepwalking to disaster – ‘woke’ but asleep.

That imposition of abortion on the North turned up in an unusual context on Sunday Sequence (BBC Radio Ulster) last weekend. It was in an absorbing interview by Audrey Carville with sculptor Dony McManus, whose dramatic statue of St Oliver Plunkett was unveiled during the week at Armagh Cathedral.

The saint had been martyred, he said, because he was Archbishop of Armagh, and he linked that martyrdom to what would be inflicted on the North if these abortion measures are imposed against the wishes of the people there. I’m not sure this was the best place to raise the issue, but so few others will, so, maybe…

The main part of the interview gave a fascinating insight into the work of a creative person working in the area of sacred art. He emphasised how the art was ‘the overflow of the interior life of the artist’, and so his work was underpinned by his own inner life of prayer and reflection.

Now there’s an ideal formula for a person of faith working in the arts.


Pick of the Week
Sunday Morning Live
BBC1, Sunday, July 21, 11.30 am

Topical religious and ethical ethics, in magazine type format.

Catholic Ireland
EWTN, Monday, July 22, 2.30 pm

Visiting the Palestrina Boys’ Choir in Dublin, the work of the Iona Institute, dedicated to the strengthening of marriage and family life, and exploring the life of St Columcille.

BBC1, Monday, July 22, 8.30pm and BBC2, Friday (night), July 26, 12.35 am

Hilary Andersson reports from Alabama, one of 12 US states currently attempting to overturn the constitutional right to abortion.