Film: Celtic Soul (2016)

November 25, 2016 | By

CelticSoul2016_posterFilm: Very Good

Transfer:  n/a

Extras:  n/a

Label:   n/a

Region:  n/a

Released:   n/a

Genre:  Documentary

Synopsis: Actor Jay Baruchel traces his maternal roots back to Ireland, and attends a soccer game with new bud Eoin O’Callaghan at Glasgow’s hallowed Celtic Park.

Special Features:   n/a




Spawning from a mutual admiration via Twitter, actor / Montrealer Jay Baruchel (Man Seeking Woman, Tropic Thunder) and Fox sports commentator Eoin O’Callaghan decided to meet, and somewhere amid their hanging out came the idea to travel to Ireland and trace Baruchel’s maternal roots, and attend a game at Celtic Park (aka Paradise) in Glasgow, Scotland, and watch the pair’s beloved team in action.

It’s a simple concept that admittedly relies on the pair’s chemistry and snappy banter – most of it dry and profane – but like a good comedy vignette about friends, family, and a bit of history, Celtic Soul delivers a lighthearted trip in about 80 minutes, offering enough gorgeous scenery to tease audiences into visiting two of Europe’s misty verdant jewels.

Baruchel soon finds the origins of his ancestors – like many, they packed up for better lives in Canada during the potato famine – and pinpoints what’s likely the very city block where the family lived, wrapping up Part One of the pair’s journey. Easing into Part Two is the trip northward to Glasgow, where they attend a practice match with their idols, and ultimately attend a game that closes their journey, with the best friends still floating on a high in a sports cathedral.

One doesn’t have to be familiar with either co-host’s career nor soccer (but a bit of love for the latter certainly helps), and veteran director Michael McNamara (Shatner’s World, The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati) keeps the pacing sharp and snappy, augmented by Marc Lamy’s lush cinematography and clever injections of aerial drone footage that gives the low budget production lovely scope. Visually, the film’s first half boasts the best travelogue eye candy, capturing valleys, sloping mountains, and the dynamic colours of Ireland’s rustic areas, while in Glasgow there’s some excellent panoramas of the city which supports bits of necessary history that contextualizes both the locations to which the hosts’ gravitate, and their contributions to the social fabric. Most of the factoids are brief and cursory but give the drama needed scope, and ensure the film has a heart, a bit of meaning, and offers audiences more than a pretty ride.

Celtic Soul begins its run at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema today, which features a Q&A with Baruchel and O’Callaghan.



© 2016 Mark R. Hasan



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