‘Black Ice’ – film review

Boy racers - the theme of Black Ice the film

Photo by James Laurence Stewart via Flickr

Director Johnny Gogan manages to trick the viewer into thinking his latest film, Black Ice, is simply about misguided youth.

Set in a rural town in Donegal, Black Ice highlights the dangers of drag racing among youths. But the storyline delves deeper, exposing the effects that corruption can have on a small town and the tragedy that can stem from the ignorance of those in charge.

Jane McGrath plays Alice Watters, a young woman coming to terms with the death of her brother and his girlfriend. In dealing with the part she played in the accident, the viewer is brought back, through a series of flashbacks, and told how the story unfolded.


Gogan uses colour, or lack thereof, to indicate the difference between the past and the present, giving the town and the characters a bleak complexion in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Young viewers can relate to the characters’ desperation to get out of the small town where local boy racers are hailed as heroes because of their ability to create excitement.

People will feel for most of the characters, particularly Alice, whose naivety in love costs her everything.

The director’s minimal use of music and particularly lyrics is instrumental in creating the uncomfortable feeling that things are inevitably going to get worse.

Realistic portayal

It would have been a disservice to have a happy ending to a film that was so strikingly depressing throughout. If you’re looking for a feel-good movie to fill your day, this film isn’t for you.

If you’re looking for a realistic portrayal of the Irish youth in how they work, play and love, Black Ice ticks all of the boxes.

Black Ice is in cinemas now.

Photo by James Laurence Stewart

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