Baltimore (2023)

February 28th, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Joe Lawlor, Christine Malloy | UK drama 98’

Imogen Poots is the only reason to see this faded foray into the past that seems topical merely because of the current outburst of anti-capitalist rage being expressed throughout the Western World.

In Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor’s character drama she plays Rose Dugdale, an aimless girl with nothing else to do but rail against a system that saw her growing up in a rural mansion in Baltimore — a village in County Cork, Ireland — where her torpid existence soon sees her drawn to the limelight – in this case the contrasting excitement of stealing her own family’s clutch of paintings, in league with the IRA.

Flashbacks show her kicking against the system from an early age in sympathising with a fox during a hunt and a Black woman in a family artwork. The heist soon gives Rose a focus and some lead in her pencil transforming her from a ‘nothing’ to a ‘something’ in her own eyes – a rebel with a cause.

Rose’s mild-mannered parents (Carrie Crowley and Simon Coury) are mystified at this transformation from ordinary teenager to political activist and dismayed when she and her boyfriend (Patrick Martins) steal from them at a fundraiser for the IRA and so its goes on as Poots steals the show with a nuanced portrait of futility and misguidedness.

With its drab visual aesthetic and lifeless characters Baltimore is a dreary trudge through Dugdale’s life and times – which eventually amounted to nothing but caused suffering to many – but for Poots’ performance it is tolerable. @MeredithTaylor


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