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With their exams over, best friends Malachy and Luke are out to have one hell of a summer. However, the arrival of Michelle, a captivating but troubled beauty, tests their friendship to the limit as she encourages the two boys to carry out increasingly dangerous and illegal stunts in the battle for her affections. Against the backdrop of a troubled city reconstructing its identity, the future paths of all three are thrown into question as the competition between Malachy and Luke spirals out of control.
Best friends Malachy and Luke are from different sides of today’s Belfast – a city vigorously redefining its identity. Malachy is a high achiever at school with a stable family life and a summer job at the local Leisureplex; Luke lives with Smiley, his alcoholic father, and deals drugs for his brother Chris. The bonds of friendship are strong between the boys and they are having themselves one hell of a summer – until the arrival of Michelle, the daughter of Malachy’s Leisureplex boss, Crilly. A stunning beauty, Michelle instantly steals both Luke and Malachy’s hearts.
Michelle has recently moved back to Belfast from London to stay with her father, and it becomes clear that Crilly has very little time for his daughter; he is far more interested in her best friend Donna, with whom he’s having a secret affair. When the neglected Michelle becomes aware of the two boys’ infatuation she welcomes the attention and playfully flirts with both of them at the Lifeboat Club. Luke gets into a bar fight and as he is carried out of the club by bouncers, bloody but unbowed, he blows Michelle a kiss. Michelle turns to Malachy and issues the challenge; ‘Top that’. And so begins a weekend of increasingly dangerous and illegal games in which the boys compete to win Michelle.
It is not long before the rivalry reaches such a pitch that Malachy’s and Luke’s friendship is strained to breaking point. After a particularly dangerous bout of joyriding in which Malachy’s dad’s car is written off, the tension between the two finally explodes. Angry words are exchanged and Michelle gets caught in the crossfire when Luke reveals that her father has been sleeping with Donna.
Back at home, Michelle decides to carry out a desperate bid to gain Crilly’s attention and at the same time punish him for his sexual transgressions by seducing Malachy in her father’s bedroom. Crilly walks in on them and orders Malachy out of the house – but he does not become the over-protective father Michelle longs for. Bitter and resentful, Michelle packs her bags and prepares to return to London.
Michelle goes to say a final goodbye to Luke and Malachy. Although the two boys have been reconciled, they have little to celebrate. Luke has just been abandoned by his father and Malachy fears that Michelle is going to abandon him too. All three decide to perform the ultimate rebellion that will set them against Crilly, their parents, and ultimately the law. Luke steals his brother’s drugs, and with the aid of Malachy’s security clearance the three teenagers break into the Leisureplex and host the party of the decade. However, this night of youthful abandon will come at a high cost. When Crilly arrives at the Leisureplex in the morning and discovers the havoc that has been reaped by his daughter and her friends, the situation culminates in a tragedy that will change the lives of all three teenagers forever.