The Drummer and the Keeper
In his own words, Gabriel (Dermot Murphy) has been “overindulging a bit”. This is putting it somewhat mildly, and Gabriel’s depressive and self destructive tendencies are made clear early on during a type of pseudo intervention held by his sister and bandmates. Gabriel is bipolar, and this moment allows for some effective exposition that sets the narrative rolling. As part of his therapy, he is placed with a local football group, where he encounters Christopher (Jacob McCarthy) who has Aspergers.
Surprises are not likely to be experienced when watching The Drummer and the Keeper, and yet hearts will be warmed. Even the title (Gabriel is a drummer in a band and Christopher is a keeper on the football field) feels like something that was a working title up until the point they decided to go with it. And, of course, the connection between the two lead characters (which could easily be described as “an unlikely friendship” in the film’s marketing material) is only going to be unlikely to someone who has never seen a movie before. But despite the fact that the picture swims through familiar waters, it still manages to be winningly charming.
The two respective mental health issues faced by Gabriel and Christopher are presented with a matter-of-fact authenticity by Murphy and McCarthy, who are both disarmingly good, never overplaying this aspect of their roles when it would be extremely easy to do so (to the detriment of the characterisation). Indeed, the occasional indignation of Gabriel when coupled with the specific intensity of Christopher’s social interactions helps to draw out the characters in an efficient though naturalistic manner.
There is a slight issue with the film’s choice of music, and it often pronounces itself too boldly, too often sounding like it’s attempting to signify worthiness. There are also some unnecessary sequences that look like a music video has been dropped into the picture, with a dejected figure walking through the frame while a somewhat whiny indie-type song plays. This hardly detracts from the overall quality of The Drummer and the Keeper as it gently draws us into an unlikely friendship that is all too likely in film, but is still warmly satisfying to observe.
The Drummer and the Keeper is released nationwide on 8th September 2017.
Watch the trailer for The Drummer and the Keeper here: