The Eclipse

  • Year:2009
  • Rating:M
  • Director:Conor McPherson
  • Cast:Ciaran Hinds, Iben Hjejle, Aidan Quinn
  • Release Date:April 15, 2010
  • Distributor:Jump Street Films
  • Running time:84 minutes
  • Film Worth:$11.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

This rich mood piece often over-embellishes but is lifted by strong lead performances and genuinely scary moments

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In the sleepy, scenic Irish town of Cobh, recently widowed Michael Farr (Ciaran Hinds) lives with his two teenage children and cares for his father-in-law, who resides in a nearby nursing home. Each year, Farr works as a volunteer at a prestigious literary festival, and this year he's assisting Lena Morelle (Iben Hjejle), an author of ghost stories. Michael quickly develops an attraction to Lena as he himself has a hobby of writing supernatural fables, but also because he believes that ghosts may be stirring about his cozy, dark home.

Director and renowned playwright Conor McPherson (who wrote, amongst others, the plays This Lime Tree Bower and The Birds, and directed the film The Actors, with Michael Caine and Dylan Moran) adapted The Eclipse from a short story by Irish author Billy Roche, but the director felt unable to translate the story effectively into film until he came up with the ghostly element. This does feel apparent at times, as the supernatural elements often seem wedged into the screenplay and feel like something of an afterthought.

The Eclipse is lifted by its leads, however, who turn in sensitive performances: fine character actor Hinds (There Will Be Blood, Rome, Munich) radiates a permanent sadness and polite discomfort, while Hjejle (High Fidelity) reveals a lovely mixture of yearning and impulsiveness.

The Eclipse works best as a mood piece, although the few moments of horror are genuinely scary. In trying to create such a rich atmosphere, however, McPherson tends to over-embellish with his continual use of dark interiors, relentless piano music, on-cue rain and creaky doors. Nevertheless, this is still a respectable effort, and for the most part, McPherson manages to pull off an unusual mix of sombre character drama and ghostly scares.

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