Like emerging from Waverley Station and being assaulted by the drone of bagpipes, the most depressing thing about Jason Connery’s golfing melodrama, Tommy’s Honour, is how predictably cliché-ridden it is.
The opening gala of this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, it’s a pedestrian choice to kick off the 70th edition, the sort of movie that showcases everything cringe-worthy about filmmaking in Scotland.
A father-son tale about the birth of the modern professional game, it tells the story of Old Tom Morris (Peter Mullan) and his fractious relationship with his son, Tommy (Jack Lowden), whose efforts to make talent, rather than social standing the controlling force in golf drives a wedge between them. That’s not an inherently terrible idea for a film. Alas, Connery’s vision for a story about mavericks challenging convention is undercut by a stilted Sunday-night-TV-drama approach, equating anyone from south of the Border with upper-crust buffoonery and salt-of-the-Earth Scots with unearned nobility. Despite this, Lowden does manage to distinguish himself and Mullan lends their dynamic credibility.