May 4, 2015 | Rome, Italy | Sunny 20°C
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Comedy-Romantic Comedy

Wild Tales (Relatos salvajes)

Argentine director Damián Szifron shows how little things gone amiss can produce dark twists.

Wild Canaries

Laurence Michael Levin's screwball comedy is neither screwy nor particularly funny.

Drama

Trois couleurs: Blanc (Three Colors: White)

Kieslowski's "Three Colors: White" still ranks among the "sweetest" revenge movies ever concocted.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Michael Keaton is the mesmerizing fall guy in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s movie about acting, celebrity and identity.

Fifty Shades of Grey

Sam Taylor-Johnson's painful take on E.L. James's BDSM novel leaves everyone shackled.

The Duellists

There's plenty of style to spare in Ridley Scott's Napoleon-era first feature.

Horror

Eden Lake

James Watkins saw the brooding talent of Jack O'Connell but stock horror has its limits.

The Babadook

Jennifer Kent's psychological horror thriller is at once predictable but enticingly off-kilter.

The Canal

Irish writer-director Ivan Kavanaugh's haunted house riff does all the right things, but flatly.

Westerns

The Homesman

Tommie Lee Jones again proves himself at home making and starring a Western.




Date: 2014
Directed by: Brendan Muldowney
Starring: Robert de Hoog, Pollyanna MacIntosh, Amanda Ryan

Love Eternal

In wooded Ireland, six-year-old Ian (Robert de Hoog) exchanges messages with his father on a walkie-talkie until the signal dies — his father with it. The bereaved boy turns inward. A decade later, still-sullen Ian finds the body of a classmate, again in the woods. She's hanged herself. Introversion deepens into bearded reclusion. He is, he decides, a "mountain goat," not of this world, an alien species unfettered to life. The moorings fray further when his mother dies. The introvert's next step would be to kill himself, a plan he hatches with online diligence. But a separate suicide gives him pause. He will become a kind of modern-day boatman helping despairing young women to die, venerating their corpses until decay sets in, a coming-of-age lasciviousness percolating beneath the silent surface.

Director Brendan Muldowney tasteful if not especially insightful take on estrangement, suicide and necrophilia is surprisingly lacking in soul. From the moment Ian's burden (or affliction) becomes clear, the rest of the story — based on Kei Ohish's novel "In Love With the Dead" — is more predictable than unsettling. It is also slow. Attracted to grieving mother Naomi (Pollyanna MacIntosh), Ian's would seem on the verge of revising if not forsaking his ghoulish ways. But by the time the melancholy mountain goat gets around to a will to live, the climax is no surprise. Subtlety is replace by concerted oddness but the substitution fails. Laconic Ian's journey, however macabre, is never startling or revelatory, which such a tale demands — at least on screen.

Reviewed by: Marcia Yarrow
Day and Boarding International High School in the Heart of Rome

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