World War I seems far away from Ireland's Dingle peninsula when Rosy Ryan Shaughnessy goes horseback riding on the beach with the young English officer. There was a magnetic attraction between them the day he was the only customer in her father's pub and Rosy was tending bar for the first time since her marriage to the village schoolmaster. Then one stormy night some Irish revolutionaries expecting a shipment of guns arrive at Ryan's pub. Is it Rosy who betrays them to the British? Will Shaugnessy take Father Collin's advice? Is the pivotal role that of the village idiot who is mute? Written by
Dale O'Connor <email@example.com>
Human longing for life, bare and simple on the screen
I love this movie. Saw it again last night on the big, wide screen at the Astor, from a beautiful new print. There is much to deserve love: the artistry of the film making; unspeakably fine cinematography; superb use of music and sound (hearing nothing but the wind in the trees during the forest scene is breathlessly sensual); and major and minor characters who each in their own way reflect the eternal enigma of human longing for life and transcendence. The film's evocation of human lives caught up in the inexorable forces of nature and history at this particular moment and place is profoundly arresting. There's a timelessness about this movie which makes the criticisms I've heard - about miscasting, stiff acting and the like - melt away into irrelevance, or even shows them to be virtues. I love the way the film maintains narrative integrity but has a foreordained, mythical quality as well: the overwhelming, all-penetrating power of nature and fate seems to make the human doings at once piercingly real and immediate, yet disconnected, almost surreal. But the touches of humour and sharp, immediate visual detail (often wittily drawn from the visual history of paintings and caricatures of village life) save us from any kind of authorial portent or angst: the greatest wonder of this artful work is that there is nothing between us and the story, except perhaps the icy whip of the ocean wind gainst our faces. The range of characters both in kind and in how we experience them is enlivening - from the formidably down to earth Father Collins, to the captivatingly tragic and symbolic figure of Doryan. And Michael the retarded angel is the ultimate figure of grace.
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