22 February 2011

Movies: Ondine

Ondine http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1235796/

Drama with bits of thriller and romance

Colin Farrell plays an Irish fisherman that hauls in a woman in his fishing net one day. The woman asks that no one other than Farrell see her, so he sets her up in his dead mother's seaside cottage. The couple of times he takes this mystery woman with him on his boat, and she sings, his fish catches seem to improve. Farrell's character has a sick daughter, and during her dialysis treatment he tells her a story about a fisherman that hauls up a pretty woman in his net. The daughter suspects the woman is a "Selkie" - which is an Irish/Scottish folklore seal that sheds its skin to become human. And if the seal skin is hidden from the selkie, they cannot return to seal form. Not really a mermaid - but similar in some ways. The daughter follows her Da and discovers the woman in his story really exists. And more story happens after that but you gotta see the movie for the rest.

Now, Netflix lists this as a Sci-Fi Drama and as Sci-Fi Fantasy. It really isn't sci-fi at all, not in any way I could discern. So I dunno why they put that label on there. This is way more a character drama, and a borderline romance chick flick. But not near as nauseating as some can get. It is a nice blending of old folklore into modern tale, and well done at that.

Some beautiful locations in the shoot and the characters are played well by the cast. One of my more favorite Farrell performances. Some scenes were intolerably dark, but I'm not sure if that isn't just a problem that comes through streaming via Netflix on the Wii. I'm not gonna dork around with my TV's settings to find out.

The accents can be tough for the American ear to understand at times. Unfortunately Netflix streaming didn't have subtitles/closed captioning. Supposedly the DVD/BluRay offers CC. Add to that the voice mix is rather low, and with the accents in play and no captioning I had no idea what was being said so I faked it.

The gal playing Farrell's daughter plays her part well. She could've played her precocious to a sickening level, but instead delivers a strong performance that makes her character work.

If you do plan to see the movie I recommend a quick reading up on Selkies in Wikipedia - just so you know what the mythology is and how it figures into the story. It will make understanding the story a little easier. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selkie

(original post 20 Nov 2010)

Edit Dec 2011: Watched it again, this time on a premium movie channel. The closed captioning greatly helped understanding the accented dialog in places. The lighting and sound mix was way better too, so those issues I had earlier had to be problems with the Netflix compression and streaming.
How much better? For example, this second viewing I find that the fisherman's daughter actually explains the selkie mythology, multiple times, and in more detail than I thought we were given during the first viewing. I'm positive now my issues the first time had to do with my trying to decipher what they were saying at times due to the low dialog muddled volume sound mix and accents. Kinda glad I watched it again - cleared some things up for me.  Still a good flick worth watching if it sounds at all interesting to you.

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