County Wicklow has featured on the big screen on many occasions in the past, but perhaps it has never looked as good in theatres as Wicklow Town did in Pierce Brosnan’s 1988 thriller, “Taffin”.
The film features many contemporary shots from 1980’s Wicklow Town including; Phil Healy’s Pub, a much narrower Main Street, both of the town’s piers, The Black Castle and a long gold sand beach down The Murrough just to name a few locations.
Wicklow Town adopted the name of Ballymoran for the movie, the town which would be the home of Mark Taffin (Pierce Brosnan), a local debt collector with a martial arts background.
As well as featuring shots from the county town, the movie takes to some of the beautiful countryside on offer in the garden county and parts of Greystones.
THE PLOT – WARNING SPOILERS TO FOLLOW!
Mark Taffin (Pierce Brosnan), a debt collector in the small town of Ballymoran (actually Wicklow town), uses his smarts and martial arts skills to help locals collect debts they are owed. He beats up a restaurant owner and collects his car to pay the man’s debt, and aids a trio of young men who have been sold a faulty van. He also helps Charlotte (Alison Doody), a local barmaid, who is having trouble with her employer, and who becomes his girlfriend.
Taffin learns a local councillor, Gibson (Jonathan Ryan), is conspiring with a landowner named Henderson (Liam O’Callaghan) to hide the ownership of the landowner’s meadow, so that a local sports field will be sold instead of the meadow, and the meadow will be worth much more as building land once a planned chemical plant is built beside it, on the sports field. Taffin confronts Gibson, but is unable to change anything until he intimidates Henderson by blowing up his outhouse.
The corrupt business syndicate behind the chemical plant hires some thugs, including Conway (Jim Bartley), to intimidate the townspeople. The thugs beat up Taffin, who once again withdraws from town, berating Charlotte for her wish that Taffin should be out helping the world in some way, until Conway and his thugs beat up Taffin’s brother, Mo (Patrick Bergin).
The trio of young men who aided Taffin, as well as Taffin’s friend Ed (Gerard McSorley) help him take down two of Conway’s thugs, and Taffin himself beats up Conway after a car chase, between Conway’s Rolls Royce and Taffins red Ford Mustang, through the winding rural roads. One of the corrupt syndicate Mr. Martin (Jeremy Child) is accused of rape by Charlotte, at Taffin’s behest, so Taffin can blackmail Martin into ending the building of the chemical plant.
Taffin’s plot seems to work, but the head of the syndicate, Sprawley (Alan Stanford), hires a hitman named Deacon (Ronan Wilmot) who sets fire to Martin’s house, killing him and his wife, and framing Taffin for the crime. Despite there being no evidence that Taffin is guilty, the townspeople turn on Taffin, as he earlier said they would.
Sprawley offers Deacon one last job – to kill Mark Taffin. Taffin tries to leave town to find Sprawley but Deacon gets to him first, and enlists Conway to hold Taffin hostage in his car, forcing Taffin to follow Deacon to a remote spot where he can be killed. However, Taffin gets the upper hand on Conway and Deacon, shooting them both dead. A distant shot shows his car blowing up, and Taffin presumably dies.
Charlotte berates the townspeople for being too cowardly to do what Taffin did, and then turning on him. Taffin, masquerading as Deacon, meets Sprawley on a deserted beach in Dublin, telling him to clear his name, and shooting Sprawley when he refuses and pulls a gun on him. Charlotte goes to leave the country, but Taffin appears behind her in the queue as she waits for the bus to the airport, telling her to, “Be cool, Charlotte. Be cool.”
*Credit – Reelstreets.com and Wikipedia*
The full cast of the movies is as follows;
- Pierce Brosnan as Taffin
- Ray McAnally as O’Rourke
- Alison Doody as Charlotte
- Jeremy Child as Martin
- Dearbhla Molloy as Mrs. Martin
- Jim Bartley as Conway
- Alan Stanford as Sprawley
- Gerard McSorley as Ed
- Patrick Bergin as Mo Taffin
- Britta Smith as Mrs. Taffin
- Jonathan Ryan as Gibson
- Liz Lloyd as Valerie Gibson
- Ronan Wilmot as Deacon
- Liam O’Callaghan as Henderson
- Frank Kelly as Liam
- Dermot Morgan as Micky Guest