How do you rate a film that on one end has an exceptional story line, one that is full of drama and intrigue, but on the other falters on smaller issues like continuity errors or at times trying to be too melancholic when it most certainly isn’t? That’s my dilemma with Traveller.
Set in the world of travellers, or Gypsies, the film definitely is a great insight into the culture of a lesser understood way of life. Where the film scores points is in hiring real people, real travellers, as part of the cast and using real locations to add to the authenticity of the situations. The story of the film revolves around Owen McBride, played by Billy Cook, who has dilemmas of his own. He is a half-gypsy and half-gorgio (non-gypsy), thus living a life where he is trying desperately to understand how different the world is when you live in a community that is as close nit as that of the travellers, but at the same time hoping to leave his own mark and stand up to be the man and son he wants to be. It is this journey of coming to terms with who he really is that forms the crux of the film.
Life isn’t easy, and it’s not long before Owen realizes that everyone, no matter their standing in society, is prone to evil. As he gets dragged into crime and tries to clear his name, he also realizes the importance of brotherhood after befriending a Mongolian horse carer, friendship, trust, and most importantly community.
Traveller, as a film, disappoints in terms of production values. With maybe a little bit more budget it could have been a much better film. Billy Cook at first seems a bit out of place. It’s not till roughly the half time that his acting feels a bit more polished. There are a number of elements in the film that make is interesting, but the execution at times feels shoddy, and that can only be because of the production costs because there is no denying that everyone making the film has their heart at the right place. I especially liked how the film successfully amalgamates gypsy mysticism with some Mongolian spiritualism amidst all the crime and conflicting passions that haunts our lonesome hero. There is quite a bit of human relationship drama that is of vast interest, but once again none of it is explored in depth leaving everything a bit superficial at the end.
Watch Traveller for the beautiful Irish background score/music, and for the complexities of life that a man has to face, but go for it expecting a little less, so you come out having gained a little bit more.