Father And Son Review: Rough Daddy

June 7, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews


In the run up to Father’s Day (that’s the 20th of June for all you slackers out there), you might be forgiven for thinking that Father And Son is a touching serial about loving paternal bonds.

Well, you’d be dead wrong because it’s actually a gritty four-part drama about Manchester gangs starring Dougray “almost Bond? Scott, that’s tense, well-written and features a cracking cast that pulls no punches in its depiction of merciless retributive violence.

Michael O’Connor (Scott looking like he ate a breakfast of grit seasoned with lemon juice) is a former Mancunian gang lord now living the straight life in Ireland with his pregnant girlfriend a year after getting out of jail. His estranged fifteen year old son Sean is living with his aunt Connie (Sophie Okonedo) and gets caught up in a gang shooting, which sees him taking the rap for something he didn’t do.

This prompts O’Connor senior to return to his old stomping grounds to assess the situation, which threatens to undermine his attempt to walk the straight and narrow. What you’d expect to be a touching reconciliation between estranged relations eventually pulls back to the larger picture of a burgeoning turf war as O’Connor has to make the decision of whether to break an old associate out of jail in order to save Sean from some hardened cons on the inside.

Scott is excellent as O’Connor. He actually says very little and what he does say is scarcely more than a murmur (in a odd mixture of his native Scottish and what I assume is an attempt at a Mancunian accent), but his face manages to convey a full spectrum of anguish and consternation. That’s a rare gift in an actor, to be comfortable actually saying nothing and letting what’s unsaid do the real talking. As Clint Eastwood once said of the advice he was given as an actor, “Don’t just say something, do nothing?.

He’s not the only great thing about the cast. The young Reece Noi playing Sean is brilliant – an honest lad who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The fear at being sent to prison is permanently etched on his face, bravely taking the blame for a crime he didn’t commit but eventually cracking as the full realisation of what he’s let himself in for becomes apparent.

Father And Son is unafraid to show the complicated consequences of inner-city gang violence and paints a harrowing portrait of a circle of violence that once started seemingly has no end. If the rest of the four–part drama turns out to be as good as this, then we’re in for a treat.