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Balor is the God-fearing, fire-and-brimstone preacher on a remote Scottish island some time after (I think) the Second World War. His wife Aislin does not share his deep religion and is unhappy. They are asked to look after Fionn, an angelic-faced juvenile delinquent who nonetheless loves poetry. Count those stereotypes! Add in the facts that Balor abuses Aislin, that Aislin and Fionn find each other mutually interesting, and that Balor leaves them alone on the island while he visits the mainland, and you can see why I found this film very predictable (although to be fair, what you may think will happen between Aislin and Fionn, doesn't).
When introducing the screening at the 2014 London Film Festival, as well as burbling on about 'the patriarchy' (cue eye-rolling from your humble reviewer), writer/director Corinna McFarlane also mentioned her 'Scottish heritage' (while speaking in as English an accent as I've ever heard). This makes it strange that when casting the lead roles Scottish actors were largely ignored. Instead we have Damian Lewis (place of birth: St John's Wood) with a dreadfully laboured Scottish accent, and Andrea Riseborough (born in Newcastle upon Tyne) spending much of the film sounding as if she's just been parachuted in from Warsaw. The fact that talented Scottish thesp Kate Dickie is relegated to a small supporting role only highlights this. Thankfully, as Fionn, Ross Anderson is really Scottish and it is noticeable that his lines are the only ones from the three leads delivered with any fluidity.
So, stereotypical characters, predictable plot, dodgy accents... is this worth watching? Well, yes. Sure, the viewer knows where the story is going, but at least that means he doesn't have to work hard. And the Isle of Mull scenery is spectacular.
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