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The Eclipse [DVD]
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Michael Farr (Ciarán Hinds), a teacher raising his two kids alone since his wife died two years earlier, has been seeing and hearing strange things late at night. He isn't sure if he is having nightmares, or if he's experiencing a haunting. Working as a volunteer for an international literary festival, he is assigned to Lena Morelle (Iben Hjejle), an author of books about ghosts and the supernatural. Establishing a rapport with one another, Michael opens up and shares his terrifying experiences with her. However, Lena's attention is distracted by another novelist, Nicholas Holden (Aidan Quinn), with whom she had a brief affair. The trajectories of these three people lead them into a life-altering collision where the challenges of love, fear of the unknown, and release from the burden of grief are explored.
Irish playwright Conor McPherson successfully transitions from stage to screen for his third cinematic go-round (after two less successful efforts). Woodworking instructor Michael Farr (Munich's soulful Ciarán Hinds), who lost his wife two years before, volunteers as a chauffeur for Cobh Cove's annual literary festival. As the event begins, he sees the ghost of his father-in-law, Malachy (Jim Norton), who isn't dead, wandering through the townhouse he shares with his two children. Michael seeks advice from Lena Morelle (The Boss of It All's delicately pretty Iben Hjejle), British author of The Eclipse, a book about ghosts. She suspects Malachy might be close to death. Married American novelist Nicholas Holden (Aidan Quinn in feisty Norman Mailer mode), who had a fling with Lena the previous year, has also arrived in the Cork hamlet, hoping to rekindle the flame, except the divorced Lena finds herself drawn to the soft-spoken widower. If Michael shares her interest, he isn't quite ready to move on, though the combination of a persistent ghost and a desperate novelist pushes him in unexpected directions. As that trajectory suggests, McPherson's minor-key movie takes aim at the adult audience, and those accustomed to more sensationalistic fare may find it a little dull. The angular cinematography and minimal special effects produce some genuine chills, but psychology ultimately trumps the paranormal. In that sense, it serves as a welcome throwback to the sophisticated chillers of the 1960s, like The Innocents and The Haunting. --Kathleen C. FennessySee all Product description
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Faces and decors and visuals, well, the overall feel of it is tremendously Irish, and it is for the best : the town itself with its picturesque setting and everyday places under a changing sky is both a stage and a character per se ; not quite the postcard way, but like some sort of a reference or a reminder of the very nature of the people whose story unfolds there.
One can taste McPherson's presence behind every camera angle, every lighting or shade of décor and all the actors render the author's typical mix of mundane and uncanny in a very delicate and genuine way.
A special praise for Ciaran Hinds, extremely believable as a grieving widower and single father. As usual, raw and gentle, warm and restrained, austere and fiendishly attractive. Kudos !
Although I have seen this film marketed as from the horror genre, it is more a meditation on grief, loss and forgiveness. The superb performance of Ciarán Hinds is the emotional core to the film and he especially sparkles in the scenes with Iben Hjejle. As the majority of the film consists of long, elegaic passages the occasional scary scenes carry quite a punch, no more so than in a truly terrifying car journey at night. I'm just not sure they entirely work within the context of this film, as they do seem to have been lifted from another film. On the other hand, the chills could be great examples of the unusual encroaching on the ordinary.
A couple of other questions do arise. Who exactly is looking after Farr's children whilst he whisks these authors round the countryside, and would you put your father in law in a Home where they haven't paid the electric bill, but these are minor quibbles, as 'The Eclipse' is very different, and should be celebrated for that if nothing else. Superb music score too.
Excellent picture and sound quality, no real extras to be found on this release. 4 out of 5 for the excellent film, as I just felt it was lacking that special finishing touch.
Don't watch it on your own..you will 'jump' when you least expect it.
Having viewed The Eclipse, I felt myself wanting to watch it again...There is so much' going on, which `jolts' the viewer that you hardly have time to articulate what has occurred.
Ciaran Hinds effectively gets `inside' his character, Michael Farr, demonstrating his anguish, loss and vulnerability.
The `fight' scene with Aidan Quinn is brutal in its' exposition with Ciaran `holding back' and then `letting go' and is perhaps a metaphor for much of what is happening in the story.
We see Farr `on a journey', culminating in a possible new connection/relationship? Yet, had resolution occurred? The viewer has to seperate reality from imagination.
Has Farr's grief pushed him to the edge?
Is what he is `seeing' real or locked in his psyche?
This is a thought provoking film which makes you consider the possibilities.
On a lighter note,one thing we can be certain of is that, yes, Aidan Quinn does have vivid blue eyes...but does Ciaran Hinds know he has the most beautiful hazel-green eyes, a girl could lose herself in?
Melies D'Argent Award for Best European Film
Best Film & Best Screenplay Awards 2010 Irish Film & Television Academy Award
Best Actor Award for Ciaran Hinds 2009 Tribeca Film Festival
Best Supporting Actor Award for Aidan Quinn 2010 Irish Film & Television
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