The Hope And The Heart - Impossible Love

Being a Vixen AND a film freak, I've asked myself, who is that guy who called in Vincent two times. And why aren't there positive reviews of his films to find? Are Dan Ireland's films too modest to be picked up by film critics? Or are they really THAT bad?

Ireland has proved consistent thematically with three films in a row about impossible love. Unlike some other relatively new filmmakers that have gained attention, Ireland is neither pretentious nor a stylistic show-off. Bless him! One could fairly easily apply what the American film critic Andrew Sarris wrote on Frank Borzage (Director) in discussing Ireland in that both directors show "...a genuine concern with the wondrous inner life of lovers in the midst of adversity."

Not too overpraise Ireland either (he's far from being my fave director anyway), but to at least call attention to a currently under-appreciated filmmaker. And - a still under-appreciated actor - Vincent.

The one Ireland movie that received something like a wide release was The Whole Wide World with Vincent and the then 'relatively' unknown Renee Whatshername... ? Ah, Zellweger.
While the character of Conan the Barbarian was popular enough to make two movies, there was little attention paid to the movie about Conan's creator Robert E. Howard. The film is about a deep friendship between an aspiring writer and an established author that is unable to evolve into something more intimate due to the writer's battling of his personal demons and his (weird, maybe even unhealthy) sense of devotion to his mother.

This is counter-balanced by the dichotomy of the writer's personal life, living in a small town in Texas, contrasted against the writer's works, best known for heroic characters in exotic locations.

(click to enlarge; worth reading!)

The Velocity of Gary is carried by the bravura performances of the actors.
Again Ireland was working with "our guy".


Filmed in New York City, the film offers the kind of characters that have appeared on film many times before. But what makes VoG unique is (is Vincent, I know. But not ONLY Vincent...) that in addition to being a portrait of the search for love in a hostile world, Ireland shows his characters achieving their own respective states of grace. The characters are a jumble of flaws and strengths, and it is clear, that Ireland loves them all including those who appear briefly like Chad Lindberg as sweet Kid Joey and Ethan Hawke as a tattoo artist.


Ireland came to Passionada, his third film as director, as a hired gun. While a much lighter film than his previous films, Ireland again made a film about the challenges of romantic love.

(Dan Ireland at the film set of Passionada)

These thoughts are presented at the conclusion of Gary. Valentino dies, leaving a pregnant Mary Carmen. A healthy baby girl is born. Mary Carmen names their daughter Hope.

Kitschy? Sure! Unrealistic? Ohhh yes! Likable? I think so!


Dan Ireland describes his films: "Those are most simple films I've made as far as stories are concerned, but to get it right was a tough, tough thing".
" has a universal message of second chances, being open to love, being open to life. The hope and the heart."


  1. I know I said this on the forum but it bears repeating. Wow, what a profound and detailed synopsis of Dan Ireland's work. I applaud your beautiful description and agree with your sentiments. Your insights are brillant and so eloquently stated. I own both VOG & TWWW and watch them frequently. Dan Ireland has the ability to transcend the often brutal aspects of the human condition and find beauty in the most complex and troubled soul. I love his work!

  2. What a beautiful synopsis of Dan Ireland's, and VDO's, work! "Eloquent" would be an understatement! I think both men would be inspired by your analysis. I know I was! Lovely job, dear!

  3. Anonymous1:35 PM

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  4. Anonymous1:36 PM

    Sorry, that was me, being unable to spell - again!

    I happen to think that most of Vincent's work is 'under-appreciated', except by the lucky ones who 'found' him.

    Wasn't it Dan Ireland who suggested to Vincent that he try directing? I'm just hoping that Vincent doesn't like it so much, he moves behind the camera full-time, instead of in front of it....a notion too painful to contemplate!

  5. diane, i don't believe that he will give up acting. at least he said:
    "I think that being a producer is business and being an actor is art. It was nice to learn that I could do business and art simultaneously, but the art is always much more interesting to me".
    there is hope for us!

  6. artist and snark, thank you a lot!

  7. Jazzy,

    Thank you for such an interesting post. You obviously put a lot of work into it, and it's great to find out a bit more about Dan Ireland.

    I know, over on IMDB, he occasionally leaves replies on the message boards. I believe I saw one about the dvd release of VOG, saying how they would have loved to do a commentary, maybe add deleted scenes, if they'd known the dvd was coming out in the first place :-)

  8. Anonymous8:03 PM

    I keep telling myself that acting is his passion Jazzy, so there's always hope,but there seem to have been several directing projects lately. As long as he's happy to do both..oh yes, and he was editing as well wasn't he?! Such a busy (big) boy!

  9. That beautiful picture of him on the front porch, tugs at my heart strings. **Sigh**

  10. Was that likable or lickable?

    Sorry, trust me to trivialise a deep and thoughtful post.

    But everything else had already been said, and I think I just had to ask the question...

  11. Fabulous post Jazzy. I hope Vincent and Dan work together again someday..

  12. me too, tess!

    from now on i will read the IMDB message boards more carefully; thank you eliza.

    val, since this is a post about vince, your question is easy to answer.

  13. VDO like many talented actors(nobody is talented as him..word),are never appreciated at all for there brilinate work.I will get myself upset to say how much VDO talent is not egknolweged.!!
    VDO rules as actor!!;)))