Monday, November 08, 2010

'The Eclipse' ...

Team Edward, turn away.

I'm not writing about Twilight. I wrote about Twilight. Once. I was not kind.

No, no, this film is the product of Conor McPherson, about whom I've also written, in part, and the lovely Ciarán Hinds, who has worked with Conor in the past and who I am happy to call a friend.

So, yes, I'm biased. But this film is intriguing. For starters, it's beautifully shot. Conor uses chiaroscuro to excellent effect. Ordinary locations are unexpectedly dark, with light only in the distance, setting up silhouettes of the actors or making you strain to see their faces when they're lit with a hint of light.

This film is billed as a ghost story, so there are also moments that are meant to up the tension – and they do – but the beauty of the lighting remains. To wit:

And there are beautiful location shots, breathtaking views and sites dripping with age. Even simple scenes are stunning:

Ciarán plays a widower doing his best to keep it all together, raising his two kids, trying to be in more than one place at once. Aidan Quinn succeeds in being a complete asshole – there's really no other word for his character – and Iben Hjejle, who you may know from many roles but who I recognized from "High Fidelity," plays a writer who is as lovely as Quinn's character is not.

There are some decidedly McPhersonesque moments in the film which called to mind another of his plays, and while I did indeed enjoy the film, I'd like to have seen this played as a straight drama. The dynamics are compelling. The ghostly bits almost feel superfluous.

But it is worth your time. The cinematography is beautiful. The score is effective and unexpected. And the performances, including a small but pivotal stint by Jim Norton (who won a Tony for his portrayal as Richard in "The Seafarer" alongside Ciarán), are top notch.

It's available instantly or to rent on Netflix, or find it elsewhere.

By the by, the movie poster at the top of this post was one of two I saw for this film. That one, decidedly more theatrical, calls to mind M. Night Shyamalan's "Unbreakable." But I prefer this version for its simplicity. The film really is more about relationships than anything paranormal. Although, paranormally speaking, it's nice to contemplate that those we've lost are still nearby.

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