Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
Can you experience a yearning that’s close to nostalgia for a feeling you never had or a place you’ve never lived? Antonia Campbell-Hughes moody psychodrama explores the possibilities after an accident brings two men, who would normally never have met, into a shared orbit with a shared secret.
One of them is Hamish (Cosmo Jarvis), a well brought up suited city type, whose life is controlled down to the last trouser crease and splash of expensive aftershave. He’s come to a remote part of Ireland, where mist and mud rule, following the death of his aunt to sort out the details, much to the chagrin of his father (Claes Bang), glimpsed on voice calls offering instruction but little comfort.
There’s a sense of empty, negative space about Hamish even before the accident, an unwillingness to even engage with the flirtatious banter of a rental car clerk (Pauline Hutton). Perhaps that’s why hurtling up an empty road appeals, his energy meeting that of two lads in a car racing in the opposite direction. Afterwards, with one of the youngsters dead, a clash of energies will occur again as Hamish, with his nihilistic vibe, forges an unlikely, and quite possibly unhealthy, connection with 17-year-old Evan, who despite his brush with death has a precious vitality that attracts the older man like a moth to a flame. Running alongside this is a separate longing for Hamish, a connection with his mother he never truly had. This “nostalgia” of sorts is fuelled by the fact that those he encounters talk about his aunt and her sister – for him a part of the past – very much as though they stitched into the present.
Hamish isn’t blamed for the accident, and Evan was more culpable than the authorities know, a shared intimacy rendered strange and unsettling by the pair’s subsequent encounters. Hamish finds himself hanging out with Evan and his mates by a bonfire, as the teenagers share drinks and joy and unexpected dance choreography, their freedoms chucked up like sparks from the flames. Later, we’ll see Hamish throwing himself about in a near-empty club to pulsing music, the effort of trying to capture the sort of natural energy Evan emits with ease, sweatily palpable. Evan may feel a sort of ‘need’ for Hamish but the older man’s hunger for connection runs like a quiet river of desperation through the film. Jarvis’ performance connects, or perhaps more accurately, carefully unhinges the dots of Hamish’s unravelling, helping to bridge the gap the script sometimes leaves.
The landscapes add to the bleak and eerie atmosphere of abandonment, while Tom Furse’s moody score clings about them. Campbell-Hughes takes a deliberate highly stylised approach here that makes the ground between the real and imagined feel boggy and unstable and if the ultimate resolution between the two men might not be quite as powerful as what has come before, the complexity of the ideas being tackled suggests she has a lot more to offer behind the camera in future.
Director: Antonia Campbell-Hughes
Writer: Antonia Campbell-Hughes
Starring: Cosmo Jarvis, Rhys Mannion, Claes Bang, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Lalor Roddy
Runtime: 91 minutes
It Is In Us All (2022) Movie Review from Eye for Film – EyeForFilm
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson