REVIEW: 'The Eclipse'

REVIEW: 'The Eclipse'

REVIEW: 'The Eclipse', Flicks.co.nz
Iben Hjejle and Ciaran Hinds

3 stars

Irish supernatural drama about Michael (Ciarán Hinds, There Will Be Blood), a teacher raising his two kids alone since his wife died two years earlier. Now playing. Click here for session info.

This understated drama/thriller doesn't pull out any new tricks but nonetheless offers a rewarding viewing experience, enhanced by a wonderful sense of place and three strong leading performances.

Granite-faced Irish actor Ciarán Hinds has shown up in plenty of blockbusters as a stern hard-arse but gets to essay a much more sensitive character here, playing Michael Farr, a widower with two kids, still struggling to get over the death of his wife. As Farr begins to have ghostly visions that may or may not all be in his head, Hinds keeps the story grounded firmly in reality with his subtly strong presence.

Director Conor McPherson's confidently quiet style also assists in putting the viewer at ease, only to yank the carpet out with old-school horror jolts. It's clear McPherson is a fan of Carrie's notoriously terrifying final scene.

But this is a character-focused drama, and an enjoyably rich one at that. Danish actor Iben Hjejle (who you may recall as the object of John Cusack's affection in High Fidelity) does good work as a visiting novelist whom Farr becomes close with. Their unlikely chemistry is palpable. Former leading man Aidan Quinn manages to mine some pathos out of his otherwise clichéd character; an arrogant, drunken novelist.

The seaside Irish town setting of the film is used to great effect, as is the literary festival where much of the action takes place; there's something inherently cinematic about the world of books and writers.

The Eclipse is a solid and occasionally genuinely freaky little effort.

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