Ian Bannen-Jackie O’Shea
David Kelly-Michael O’Sullivan
Fionnula Flanagan-Annie O’Shea
Susan Lynch-Maggie O’Toole
James Nesbitt-Pig Finn
Adrian Robinson-Lotto Observer
Maura O’Malley-Mrs. Kennedy
Robert Hickey-Maurice O’Toole
Paddy Ward-Brendy O’Toole
James Ryland-Dennis Fitzgerald
Fintan McKeown-Pat Mulligan
Eileen Dromey-Lizzy Quinn
Dermot Kerrigan-Father Patrick
Filmed on the Isle on Man, this 1998 movie depicts the quest of two friends for a lottery prize of almost 6.9 million Irish pounds. The movie was released under the title Waking Ned but was released in the United States with the title Waking Ned Devine.
Lifetime friends Jackie O’Shea (Ian Bannen) and Michael O’Sullivan (David Kelly) hatch a plot to discover who in their small village has won the Irish lottery. Jackie read the lotto results in The Irish Times and someone in their county had won. Since the only village in the county is Tullymore with a population of fifty-two, they assume that they can find that person without too much difficulty. They plan on finding the winner and becoming best friends in the hopes of sharing in the wealth.
They first are convinced that the lucky winner is Pig Finn (James Nesbitt) the local pig farmer. Pig Finn has been trying to marry Maggie O’Toole (Susan Lynch) but she refuses as long as he smells like pigs. Jackie and Michael meet Finn at the local tavern and buy him drinks. Jackie also brought him some “expensive, fruity soaps” to take home and try out to see if they would alleviate the pig smell and help him to finally marry Maggie. Jackie spent ten pounds on Finn at the tavern only to find out that the new sports car Pig Finn had been driving wasn’t his but belonged to his brother.
Jackie acquires a list of the regular lotto players and their next scheme is to invite all eighteen of them over to Jackie and Annie’s house for chicken dinner. At the dinner, Jackie, Annie and Michael try to find out who the winner is but it is all to no avail. Then Annie discovers that there is one chicken dinner left over. Someone didn’t show up. It was Ned Devine.
Annie makes up the chicken dinner and Jackie takes it to Ned Devine’s house during a violent thunderstorm. At Ned’s house, Jackie finds him dead in his easy chair in the dark in front of the television, holding the winning lottery ticket in his hand. The shock of winning had killed him.
Later that night, Jackie has a dream, a premonition as he calls it, that he’s in a boat with Ned Devine. He’s convinced that Ned wants him to claim the prize. That same night, Jackie and Michael go to Ned Devine’s house. Since Ned has signed the ticket, they need information to convince the lottery officials that he’s still alive so that one of them can claim to be Ned. Early the next morning, they go to the telephone call box to contact the lottery and make the claim.
They are at their favorite spot near the ocean as the lost lottery official shows up in a rental car and asks them where Ned Devine lives. Jackie offers to take him there. This leaves Michael all alone by the ocean with only one thing to do. He has to hop on Jackie’s motorcycle and try to outrace the lotto man and Jackie to Ned Devine’s house where he can pretend to be Ned.
Jackie employs many delaying tactics in getting the lottery official to Ned’s home. Michael beats them there and convinces the man that he is, in fact, Ned Devine. The official informs Michael that he’ll be back in a day or two to talk to people to make sure that Michael really is Ned. It’s all a formality he assures him.
Now Michael and Jackie are convinced they’ll go to prison unless they can get the townspeople to go along with their scheme. To do this, they divide the anticipated money into fifty-two equal shares. Everyone agrees to participate and to tell the lotto man that Michael is Ned. Everyone, that is, except for Lizzy Quinn (Eileen Dromey), a local wheelchair bound spinster with a chip on her shoulder who hates everyone.
We won’t give away the ending of the movie but let’s just say that Lizzy Quinn is silenced in a bizarre way while she’s on her way to telephone the lottery officials to turn everyone in and collect the ten percent reward.
There’s some great Irish music throughout this film. It is one of those quiet movies that you don’t hear too much about but is a great film when you see it.
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