I Went Down

I Went Down is a 1997 Irish-British-American comedy crime film by director Paddy Breathnach.

I Went Down
Directed byPaddy Breathnach
Produced byRobert Walpole
Written byConor McPherson
StarringPeter McDonald
Brendan Gleeson
Music byDario Marianelli
CinematographyCian de Buitléar
Edited byEmer Reynolds
BBC Films
Bord Scannán na hÉireann
Irish Film Board
Raidió Teilifís Éireann
Easkel Media
Treasure Entertainment
Shooting Gallery
Distributed byHollywood Pictures
Release date
  • 3 October 1997 (1997-10-03) (Ireland)
  • 26 January 1998 (1998-01-26) (United Kingdom)
  • 24 June 1998 (1998-06-24) (United States)
Running time
107 minutes
United Kingdom
United States


Ending an eight-month prison sentence for breaking and entering, Git Hynes, (Peter McDonald) meets ex-girlfriend Sabrina Bradley, (Antoine Byrne), who now prefers his best friend Anto (David Wilmot). She asks Git to reassure Anto that he accepts this. On meeting Anto in a bar, he finds that the latter's gambling addiction has left him in debt to the bookies, who are about to take his fingers as collateral. Git saves his friend, but disfigures the ringleader, nephew of mob boss, Tom French (Tony Doyle).

At a sit-down, Tom French decrees that Git must work off Anto's debt. He is ordered to find French's associate Frank Grogan (Peter Caffrey) in Cork, and bring him back to Dublin. Holding Anto as a hostage, French pairs the reluctant Git with half-wit and heavy-handed mobster, Bunny Kelly (Brendan Gleeson).

After robbing a petrol station and dumping their stolen car, Bunny and Git steal another car. They drive to a remote bog area to rendezvous with a "Friendly Face". However, arriving too late, they drive to Cork, but find that Grogan has left his hotel. Following a tip, they drive to The Black & Amber Inn, a pub that Grogan frequents. However, Git is attacked by mobsters who break his nose. Bunny painfully re-sets Git's nose for him. Returning to the pub, they follow the mobsters to a secluded house. Bunny and Git conclude that Frank Grogan is being held against his will and decide to rescue him.

The following morning, Bunny gives Git a pistol. They enter the house, find Grogan, and flee, engaging in a gunfight with the mobsters. Grogan asks where he is being taken. When informed that he is being taken to French, he attempts to flee. Grogan is then bundled into the boot. After phoning French's associates, Bunny and Git are informed that the "Friendly Face" will be at the bogs the following day, to receive Grogan. They release Grogan from the boot and head for the rendezvous. Grogan's incessant, self-aggrandizing chatter is ignored by Bunny, who then abandons the car and steals a Mercedes-Benz saloon.

Arriving at the rendezvous, Bunny refuses to leave the car. Git and Grogan go to meet the "Friendly Face" (Donal O'Kelly). Grogan, afraid he will be killed, begs Git not to leave him. Git agrees. At the rendezvous, Grogan does not recognise the man and is fearful. Git refuses to leave Grogan. The "Friendly Face" pulls a gun and forces them to kneel. Grogan offers the "Friendly Face" £50,000 for his release and to kill Git. Before this happens, Bunny arrives and holds the "Friendly Face" at gunpoint. After stuffing him into the boot, Git and Bunny drag Grogan back to the Mercedes, and interrogate him.

Grogan reveals that he and French were partners, along with a Sonny Mulligan (Johnny Murphy) and thathe came into possession of one side of a plate to print $ 20-dollar bills. Without the other half, it was useless. French later comes into possession of the other side of the plates. Eager to get both plates, French offers Grogan £5,000. Grogan refuses, instead opting to sell his half for £10,000 to a criminal from London. French, however, counter-offers. He has found a buyer for both plates, offering £100,000. French agrees to a 50–50 deal, and offers Grogan £25,000 up-front. French's wife is to deliver this money, but never shows up.

Phoning French, a meeting is arranged. Anto will be released and the deal closed. The trio check into a hotel. Bunny and Git tie Grogan up, so they can enjoy the swimming pool and bar. Bunny and Git have One-night stands with women. Git reveals to his partner through pillow-talk that his conviction was because he took the fall for his father. When Bunny and Git return to the room, they find Grogan has escaped. Before leaving, Grogan made three phone calls; one to a Cork number, one to a taxi company, and one to a nearby hotel. Bunny and Git head there. Grogan has checked in under a false name, but Bunny recognises his deception. Grogan's associates from Cork arrive soon after, forcing Bunny and Git to flee again with Grogan in the boot of the car. The trio then head for the rendezvous with French. Leaving Grogan with Bunny, Git and French head into the woods to dig up a package with one of the plates. French, Git, Grogan, and Bunny then head to another area, where French instructs them to dig another area where the skeletal remains of Mulligan is uncovered.

French and Grogan then reveal what happened. Mulligan had "borrowed" the plates from an American criminal gang, on condition that he would not print more than $50,000. This was to be his retirement money. French married Mulligan's niece (and Grogan proceeded to have an extramarital affair with her). French wanted Mulligan to print more than the agreed $50,000, but Sonny refused and the pair had a blazing argument at French's wedding. Grogan and French decided to steal the plates from Mulligan, print their own batch, and then return the plates without Mulligan knowing. Mulligan, however, always kept one of the plates in his possession. French spied on Mulligan and saw where he had buried the other plate. Grogan murdered him to get the other plate. Burying him, Grogan and French narrowly avoid being killed his relatives and by the American gang. The situation is further soured when French learns of Grogan's affair Grogan with his wife. They part for good.

Back in the present, Grogan insults Mulligan's memory. It is revealed that French's wife has absconded, with £25,000 of the money. Infuriated, French uses a gun buried with Mulligan to kill Grogan and shoot Bunny, before Git kills him. Bunny and Git then bury Grogan and French, alongside Mulligan. The duo then leave with the plates. Several months later, Bunny meets Git's ex-girlfriend, Sabrina, in a pool hall and gives her an envelope containing several thousand pounds; a gift from Git. Bunny claims that Git has gone to America and he will follow. When Sabrina suggests that Git had something to do with French's disappearance, Bunny denies it and states that French pulled an insurance scam and fled the country. It is then revealed that Git is waiting outside. After a short conversation, Bunny and Git head to the airport.


  • John Bergin as young Tom French
  • Antoine Byrne as Sabrina Bradley
  • David Wilmot as Anto
  • Donal O'Kelly as "The Friendly Face"
  • Johnny Murphy as Sonny Mulligan
  • Carly Baker as Caroline
  • Michael McElhatton as Johnner Doyle
  • Joe Gallagher as Steo Gannon
  • Kevin Hely as Petrol Station Attendant
  • Eamonn Hunt as Cork Barman
  • Frank O'Sullivan as Cork Man 1
  • Jason Byrne as Cork Man 2
  • Eamon A. Kelly as Cork Man 3


Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 84% based on 19 reviews.[1] On Metacritic the film has a score of 69% based on reviews from 16 critics.[2]

The New York Times reviewer praised it for "steering clear of Irish movie stereotypes and instead showing off a spare and quizzical indie spirit".[3]

Roger Ebert gave it 3 out of 4 stars.[4]


The film won several awards. Paddy Breathnach won Best New Director and the Jury Prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival and won Best Director at Thessalonica 1997 and Best Film at Bogota International Film Festival 1998. Screenwriter Conor McPherson also won awards and acclaim for his script.[5]

Home media

The film was released on DVD in Ireland only in December 2011.


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