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  • Entertainment

MOVIE: Tom Vaughan Lawlor stars as Hugh Lane

Wednesday, 16th May, 2018 7:00pm
MOVIE: Tom Vaughan Lawlor stars as Hugh Lane
MOVIE: Tom Vaughan Lawlor stars as Hugh Lane

Paul O’Rourke 

IT’S a far cry from his turn as the evil Ebony Maw in ‘Avengers Infinity War’, but Tom Vaughan Lawlor shows his versatility by playing Irish art dealer Hugh Lane in the new documentary drama, ‘Citizen Lane’.

Many Dubliners will be familiar with the Cork-born philanthropist because of the gallery on Parnell Square which bears his name, but few will know of his life and struggles. 

Lane’s passion was to bring art to the people and this he achieved in 1908 by donating a collection of then modern pieces which he housed on Harcourt Street.

A renowned and shrewd collector, other bidders would reportedly closely monitor Lane’s pre auction viewing and prices of paintings he liked would increase in price as a result.  His ambitious plans to move the gallery to new premises spanning the Liffey met with resistance in 1913 Lockout Dublin, and soon after Lane tragically died on board the Lusitania before the final resting place for his paintings were found on Parnell Square. He leaves today a collection that includes works by Manet, Monet and Renoir, some of which are contentiously held by London’s National Gallery. The film is a difficult one to review because it falls between two stools, not really a documentary and not really a drama. 

It’s difficult to identify the target audience as outside of art lovers and possibly Irish history buffs, it will have little appeal. 

The talent involved is impressive as aside from Vaughan Lawlor, the script was written by Mark O’Halloran (‘Adam & Paul’) and directed by Thaddeus O’Sullivan, currently working on ‘Silent Witness’ in the UK. 

The project was filmed almost entirely at the Hugh Lane Gallery which means production costs must have been very low so it’s hard to know where the budget went. 

This is the kind of piece that will be running on a loop at the museum in the years to come and will be an excellent addition and worthy attraction when it does. As a cinematic experience it doesn’t work, so we advise you save your cash and visit the gallery instead.

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