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Bad Day For The Cut Review

Bad Day For The Cut is a 2017 about a middle-aged Irish farmer, who still lives at home with his mother, sets off on a mission of revenge when the old lady is murdered.

The revenge film is most often populated by everyday people thrust into unimaginable violence for deeply personal reasons. They are a tough lot, to be sure, and from Sam Peckinpah‘s Straw Dogs to Scott Cooper‘s Out of the Furnace, they have been defined by their brutality. Now comes Chris Baugh‘s Bad Day for the Cut, a gripping, harrowing revenge thriller that strikes hard, delivering one of the most effective films ever made in the genre.

Donal (Nigel O’Neill) is a middle-aged Irish farmer in the countryside, fixing up old cars, still living with his house-bound mother (Stella McCusker). She dotes over him as he goes to the pub, alone, his mild mannered invisibility painting him like a mouse. One morning, he wakes to the sounds of his mother screaming and arrives to find her head crushed and a pair of men driving away. The next day, he’s visited by two others, who try to murder him, making it looking like a suicide, though he manages to overwhelm one of them, killing him and learning that the other is only a young man, forced into action after his sister was kidnapped. Now the two of them come to work together to save the girl and find out who wanted his mother dead.

Baugh, who co-wrote the film with Brendan Mullin, and makes his feature length film debut, work in a surprising amount of violence in a very small story, layered in some authentic bits of humor that give Bad Day for the Cut plenty of twists. While it’s all a bit familiar, as many in the gene almost certainly must be, it’s very effective in creating a genuine sense of place and urgency. It strives to be realistic even as Baugh gives it plenty of flare, giving Donal loads of opportunities to bring the pain while keeping him constantly likable. 

O’Neill is to be given credit for much of that, making Donal an entirely believable man overcome by rage at what seems like the random murder of his mother, learning slowly that there is much about her past she shielded him from. O’Neill is a grey-bearded, paunchy fellow who proves you don’t need a square jaw to be a hero, cleverly working his way through the ranks to get to a woman named Frankie Pierce (Susan Lynch), who is her own whole set of madness. It’s powerful stuff and Baugh runs us through a minefield of possible setbacks, always finding ways to keep it right. Just when you think you have it figured, he trips you up again.

Bad Day for the Cut is loaded with colorful characters and moments of intensely raw violence, even if much is off camera. It’s a sometimes distressing film of suspense that Baugh handles supremely well. The message is clear cut, but it’s delivered with great weight as Dolan deals with a larger truth that changes everything about what defines him. This is a great film.

Bad Day For The Cut Review

Movie description: Bad Day For The Cut is a 2017 about a middle-aged Irish farmer, who still lives at home with his mother, sets off on a mission of revenge when the old lady is murdered.

Director(s): Chris Baugh

Actor(s): Nigel O'Neill, Susan Lynch, Józef Pawlowski

Genre: Thriller

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