The explosion of the DVD market is the best thing that ever happened to the foreign film. The more spectacular of them have always been able to find an audience, but now the solid but unspectacular films from all over the globe are now able to find their way to the masses. If anything it’s proven that foreign studios and film-makers can make as many bad to mediocre films as American studios and film-makers can. Take The Eclipse, a solid but not spectacular Irish film.
Essentially a three-character story, the film takes place in rural Ireland at the time of an annual literature festival. Michael Farr (Ciaran Hinds) has recently lost his wife and is also one of the festival’s organizers. He has two young children to care for, as well. Interacting into his life are two relatively famous authors. Nicholas Holden (Aidan Quinn) is a loud American who is there to discuss one of his books. Lena Morelle (Iben Hjejle) is a quiet Irish woman, also there to present a book. Lena and Nicholas had a fling once upon a time, which Nicholas is eager to indulge in again. She is considerably less interested, considering that Nicholas is still together with his wife. Her attraction is towards Michael, it seems, and the film follows their relationship with one another but with a bit of a twist. Michael has seen the ghost of his father-in-law and Lena happens to write about ghosts; it’s all fine and dandy but for the fact that Michael’s father-in-law is still alive.
And if the film just focused on the triangle of love, so to speak, between the three it’d be far more interesting than when it delves into the realm of ghosts. The interactions and story between the three has so much more going for it than this idea of the ghosts of present and past, et al, and The Eclipse would be a far better drama without the diversions into this realm. There’s enough chemistry, and three great actors, that provide enough that the spiritual odyssey seems tacked on at best and a cheap ploy at worst.
The Eclipse ends up being slightly above mediocre because of it.
This is a beautiful film and the transfer is superb. There are enough great moments in the film’s cinematography, especially one in which Lena and Michael see part of the coast line of Ireland, come through beautifully.
The Making of The Eclipse is a rather in-depth look at the film’s production, with all of the principles in front of (and behind) the camera getting involved with a level of candor
There’s a special that ran on HDNet included, as well as the BD Live feature.
With just enough extras to make it worth a viewing, The Eclipse is more of a rental than a purchase if you didn’t love the film in its limited theatrical release.
Magnolia presents The Eclipse . Directed by Conor McPherson. Starring: Aidan Quinn, Ciaran Hinds, Iben Hjejle. Written by: Conor McPherson based on the novel “Tales from Rainwater Pond” by Billy Roche. Running time: 88 minutes. Rating: R. Released on DVD: June 29, 2010. Available at Amazon.com.