When he learns his girlfriend is pregnant, Alex (Peter Coonan) realises its time to accelerate his plan to move to London. Roping his best friend Coilin (Killian Scott) in to help him gather the money, Alex hits up all of his friends in the pursuit of ferry fare. Coilin is dealing with his own issues, however; the love of his life doesn’t seem to feel the same, which conflicts with his joy at finally landing a gig as a stand up comedian.
Writer/director Brendan Grant examines the relationship between two twenty-something Irish men, as they are forced into the next phase of their lives. Coonan and Scott have warm chemistry together on screen, as they spend their day meandering through the streets of Dublin, and the rest of the cast – Gemma-Leah Devereux, Sara Lloyd-Gregory, Emma Eliza Regan, Sarah McCall – do well with what they are given, and play disgruntled, rudderless twenty-somethings rather well.
The story is not one that is filled with high octane moments, or even that many revelations about the characters, instead it plays more like a ‘day in the life’ of two men who realise that things cannot continue as they are. It is easy for the audience to recognise themselves or their friends in the characters, which makes the entire film feel real and relatable; we have seen these characters, we have had these friends. While the film doesn’t necessarily follow the plot structure we would expect, there is enough emotional connection here to keep the audience engaged with these two messy and indecisive characters.
As director, Grant keeps the pace of Get Up and Go going through the 90 minute running time; as the characters meander through their day, so too the film meanders through it’s running time, but the question that needs to be answered keeps the action going. Grant has coaxed strong performances from his central two actors, as they swing from hero to anti-hero and back again, and while the city doesn’t always look its best on screen, it is clear that Get Up and Go is a love letter to the city that neither Coilin nor Alex can seem to bring themselves to leave.
In all, Get Up and Go is a slow and steady examination of one day that changes everything for two people. There are times when the film drags its heels, but there is a strong emotional payoff at the end of the film that makes the to-ing and fro-ing worthwhile, although the finale is anything but neat.