People who don’t know me very well may be confused by the prominence of Pierce Brosnan on this site. However, people that know me relatively well will have no doubt questioned the relative absence of Pierce Brosnan related content on this site. Well that ends today. Today I talk about cult 1988 Irish thriller, Taffin.
Some of you may have already seen Taffin, but to describe it to anyone who hasn’t – Pierce Brosnan plays Mark Taffin, a drop out priest who has become a debt collector, lives in a loft in a village in Wicklow with his supermodel girlfriend, and eventually has to save his town, using extreme force, from a crowd of corrupt chemical industrialists. It is amazing, even more amazing than that brief summary would make you think. If that hasn’t whetted your appetite enough, basically every Irish TV actor who was alive in the 80’s is in it – 90% of whom Brosnan kicks up the hole at some stage. For example:
Bela from Fair City as a thug with a mullet!
Fr. Todd Unctious as Taffin’s walkie talkie wielding best friend!
Dermot Morgan as a comedian in a strip club that is clearly just an old man pub, with scantily clad women thrown in for a day!
Leo from Fair City as a goon!
Fr. Jack as a barman!
The Entire Cast of Glenroe as Assorted Shit-Heads!
Twink as Taffin’s best friends very unsexy girlfriend!
How best to describe the character of Taffin? Well to keep it simple, imagine that Pierce Brosnan’s character from Evelyn and Pierce Brosnan’s character from The Thomas Crown Affair somehow had a baby, and that baby was adopted by Pierce Brosnan’s character from Evelyn. Add in a pinch of leather coats, just a dash of Ford Mustangs, a generous side portion of cowboy boots and religious medals, and a single earring, and that resulting child would grow up to be Mark Taffin.
Initially, Taffin was supposed to be a fat slob, but obviously the Piercer wouldn’t be too realistic in that role. I interviewed the director of the film, Francis Megahy, for this piece. He recalls ‘By the time I came on board, Pierce was attached, and that was one of the attractions of the project for me. I’d met him before when I cast him in a Hammer TV movie which I wrote and directed. It was obvious to me that he would be a big star. It was just a matter of how and when it would happen. I thought he was the most handsome young man I had ever seen, he had an immensely likable quality – and he was a much, much better actor than he has ever been given credit for.’ Quite.
Some film fans may be surprised to learn that Hans Zimmer did the score for this film. Megahy recalls how that came to pass: ‘Hans was an up-and-comer who was working with Stanley Myers, who had done an excellent score for a previous films of mine so I was enthusiastic when they were suggested.’
I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself right about now, ‘Ya, very good Paddy, it certainly sounds good, but can’t be as truly excellent as you say it is’ Well, let me show you some of my favourite scenes and let you decide for yourself
The Best Car Chase Scene of All Time!
The fella in the Massey 135 adds realism to this chase scene that other films just don’t have. Poor aul Bela is having a bad day.
The Most Dramatic Negotiation Scene Of All Time!
Jimmy Stewart would have been much more successful, much faster in Mr Smith Goes to Washington if he had thought to explode a toilet, as a show of force.
The Most Heart Wrenching Break Up Scene of All Time!
There’s been a lot said about this scene already, so here’s what Megahy said about it when I interviewed him: ‘I remember being surprised at the vehemence with which PB uttered that line. Watching it just now in isolation, it looks a little odd, but I recall that it fitted the mood of the piece at that moment very well. If I hadn’t liked it, I would have shot another take, of course. I think that line was written by Allan Scott, one of the many great lines he contributed.’
The Best Ending Scene of All Time!
According to the director, this scene was a complete re-write and Alison Doody had no idea of the altered script so her look of bemused astonishment is real. It’s perfect.
In conclusion, Taffin has it all – action, love, drama, Brosnan – and is the greatest film of all time, and we give it our highest recommendation. If you haven’t seen search it out now, and if you have re-watch it and enjoy it again!
In the meantime here’s the Taffin Dance Remix that I’m pretty sure will be the song of the summer. Adieu.