The film is based on a newspaper story about a South American pilot – played here by well-known Mexican actor Demian Bichir – who is forced to make an emergency landing in rural Cork. The town comes together to build a runway for him to get his plane up in the air again.
The sleepy town, which is mostly unemployed and in a state of inaction, is brought to life by the foreign visitor and the common cause of building a runway for him to fly out.
I happen to be a fan of older Irish plays like The Playboy of the Western World by John Milington Synge. These older plays had lots of characters, and recent films from Ireland seem to pay homage to that form of storytelling.
In The Runway there is the priest who hates the guy who owns the bar. The guy who says they can’t do it. The pretty girl who acts like she can’t stand the guy she loves. The mayor of the town is a buffoon, the town drunk, brothers who constantly fight with each other, a man who can’t hear and carries around a large metal hearing aid...it goes on and on.
The twist is that this scenario has a young boy named Paco who has an Irish Mother and a Spanish father who is long gone, and is in desperate need of a father figure. The pilot can’t speak English and only has the boy to translate for him, but Paco keeps translating something other than what Ernesto, the pilot, is saying.
This film is a light comedy for those who enjoy a small-town story.
The Runway will be available through Video on Demand and a limited theatrical release on July 18.