22 February 2011

Movies: The Eclipse

The Eclipse http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1346961/
Listed as a supernatural thriller, produced and filmed in Ireland, about a widower who begins to sense a presence in house. 
Stars Ciarán Hinds, the actor who played Caesar in HBO's awesome series "Rome", and probably recognizable from quite a few other flicks, including "Munich". The only other actor I recognized was Aidan Quinn.

Here's the thing - it is an Irish film and has different 'movie sensibilities' than the standard American movie fare. My first impression was this movie seems to plod along slowly - so very slowly. Then I realized that while it is "sold" to the American audience as a 'supernatural thriller' it really was anything but. It's way more a drama with romance undertones. The 'supernatural' bit, the ghosts, really aren't the ghosts one would expect - which is why I disagree with its 'supernatural' billing point. There was actually a scene or two that elicited a 'whoop' of startled fear out of the wife, so I guess that the marketers seized on those moments for the labeling.

There are ghosts in the story - real ghosts that show up and scare the crap out of the protagonist.
But in reality they are more metaphors than actual ghosts. They are ghosts in the mind moreso than disembodied spirits. They are ghosts of the past and present. Ghosts of the living and the dead. Ghosts manifesting inner turmoil. Ghosts of closure and growth. Ghosts of giant public persona contrasting personal failing at life.

It isn't a sit-back-and-watch and be scared supernatural ghost thriller. This is a thinking/pondering grounded in humanity character development drama with parallel complimentary story lines.

It wasn't until I shifted mental gears that I began to understand and appreciate the movie. In my opinion the misleading marketing of the movie was a disservice.

Once I figured out what the movie was really about, I did like it. The acting by everyone was awesome, which is what I expected out of Ciarán Hinds and Aidan Quinn based on their past work. They did not disappoint. In fact I watched this solely on Ciarán Hinds' work in Rome. The story - involved and requires thinking to 'get it' - but it works. Technical things like cinematography, framing, sound, etc - no complaints. A little odd camera angle once in a while, but not in a bad way.

So. My guess: if you are looking for a supernatural thriller this movie will leave you disappointed and bored. A couple of popcorn-bowl-throwing startles do not make a supernatural thriller.
If you enjoy thinking-required character development dramas with romance undertones this is actually a pretty good movie. Just keep in mind this Irish movie's pace is a bit slower and doesn't really come together until the last third of the flick.

(original post 26 July 2010)

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