Colm (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) has seemingly got everything sorted in an idyllic life. He’s married to Claire (Monica Dolan) and they have two teenage children, Kerry (Sophie Jo Wasson) and Shane (Scott Graham) and he’s had a steady job for as long as he can remember. However, when Colm’s father dies his life starts to spiral into a deep depression where he contemplates his place in life and what it’s all meant.
Then one day he meets Jay (Tom Glynn-Carney), a man around the age of Colm’s son and instinctually Colm decides to pay for Jay’s services as a male prostitute. Unfortunately, Jay’s services come at a bigger price than Colm was expecting, however what starts out as a seedy relationship soon turns into something deeper and satisfying for Colm.
Rialto is an independent Irish film backed by the BFI, directed by Peter Mackie Burns and written by Mark O’ Halloran, adapted from his award-winning play. Rialto explores a man’s life as it seemingly unravels, forcing Colm to lose everything he’s ever valued, wondering how it got to that point.
With a script that feels authentic, Rialto gives a slice of life in an ordinary Irish town where men like Colm need an outlet before they lose themselves entirely.
Vaughan-Lawlor gives an outstanding performance as a man who’s starting to realise that he’s lost everything and the relationship between Colm and Jay plays out well, seamlessly turning from one of an illicit encounter, to that akin to a father and son.
The events of Rialto are also realistically grounded and although the audience knows that Colm is going through great inner turmoil and emotion, it’s never pushed to the front. This makes the audience feel for Colm as he silently deals with his grief, his delayed resentment of his father and his worries for his own children.
In the end there may be a little light as Colm starts to come to terms with who he is and what his life has become, but the ambiguous ending will be up to the audience to decide whether Colm deserves a better life.
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