Jump tells the story of four twenty-somethings whose lives collide one New Year’s Eve in Derry. It stars Nichola Burley as Greta a young girl with a lot of personal problems. The film opens with her on the Derry Peace Bridge debating whether to jump off or not. We then get a flashback/flash-forward non linear narrative telling us what led to this point.
Remember the Paul Haggis film Crash and the amount of times the same people kept on running into each other? Well that annoyed the hell out of me and sometimes that kind of contrived set up can put you off a film (Crash had other major problems to be honest). Jump suffers from a similar fate. Yes I know Derry is a little smaller than L.A. but the likelihood of all the main characters continuously running into each other is absurd. To say that the story is contrived is really an understatement. Not only do the characters meet a lot but the ways they come together are ridiculous. Worse than that, the intersections are major plot points.
For some people this may be easier to get past but this is not the only problem with Jump. It attempts, unsuccessfully, to marry four distinct genres: the gangster film, a drama, a comedy and a romance. This is impossibly ambitious and it fails on nearly all accounts. The gangster story is clichéd and exhausting, the drama which deals with suicide is underdeveloped. There are a few laughs to be had but not as many as is needed. The central romance is, to give the film credit, unconventional but its pacing is off and the resolution a little too neat in how it sets up the final scene.
This is a film that I could see an undemanding audience enjoy. It is easy on the eye as Derry comes over as very photogenic. But Irish films have to be held to as high a standard as any other. It is not enough to say it is OK ‘for an Irish film’. It should be judged on whether or not it works as a whole. And in this case, it does not. In fairness, it opens well with a great time lapse shot of the Peace Bridge but quickly falls apart. I suspect that it will do well at the cinema. But that will not make it a good film, sadly.