Review by Jack Foley
NEIL Jordan’s intriguing new movie Ondine is a winning mix of Celtic mythology and real-life drama.
The film is based on one of the director’s first original screenplays in over a decade and is a charming little crowd-pleaser for anyone willing to take the leap of faith required.
The story centres on down-on-his-luck fisherman Syracuse (Colin Farrell) as he lands a beautiful semi-naked woman (Alicja Bachleda) in his nets and suddenly finds his fortune changing for the better.
But is she a mythical sea creature, or selkie, as his disabled daughter (Alison Barry) suggests? Or is her sudden arrival linked to something more sinister and real world?
Jordan’s involving screenplay has plenty of fun toying with viewers’ perceptions of Ondine, and keeps you guessing until quite late in the day, before delivering a satisfying outcome that rewards your patience.
It does require a certain leap of faith, but marks a return to form for a filmmaker whose highlights have included the likes of Interview With The Vampire and The Crying Game.
To add to the appeal, there’s a strong central performance from Farrell and solid support from the likes of Barry (offering just the right mix of sweetness and precociousness as his daughter) and Stephen Rea (as the comical village priest), as well as a suitably endearing debut from stunning newcomer Bachleda.
The striking locations, captured around the Beara coastal region of Ireland, impress too.
Ondine‘s steadfast refusal to pander too much to sickly sweet Hollywood sentimentality is also to be applauded, lending the film a distinctly indie feel and making the nature of its outcome feel more deserved and authentic.
In short, the film is recommended.
Running time: 104mins
UK DVD Release: August 16, 2010