The Eclipse Conor McPherson

The Eclipse Conor McPherson
Despite some otherworldly elements and genuinely creepy moments, it would be a bit of a misnomer to classify The Eclipse as horror, being more of a human drama that stretches the fabric of what we know to be real to reveal internal struggles and growth. While arguably, this foundational template with scares as metaphor is what makes good horror ― or "made" good horror 30 years ago ― Irish director Conor McPherson is more interested in human connection, grief and social insecurity than human evils. Think of it as the opposite of true horror posing as drama, such as There Will Be Blood and The White Ribbon. Set in the middle of a small town literary festival in Cobh, Ireland, this exercise in tonal interruption and occasionally contrary non-diegetic music follows Michael Farr (Ciaran Hinds), a grieving shop teacher and driver, as he escorts writers around town. The main conceit here is that of narrative convenience, with his persistent vision of the decaying ghost of his living father-in-law arising as he develops an unspoken bond and connection with Lena Morelle (Iben Hjejle), a writer that specializes in the subject. Undoubtedly, these factors are connected, complicated mainly by the volatile involvement of Nicholas Holden (Aidan Quinn), a pompous commercial writer keen on bedding Lena, despite being married. While Quinn's character borders on cliché, elevated only by his refusal to submit entirely to cartoonish villainy, Hinds and Hjejle are both sufficiently idiosyncratic, insecure and believably human to create the intended tensions in nascent bonds. Because their relationship and interactions are so fleshed out and engrossing, and the score and visuals so serene, ghostly interruptions come as a genuine shock, much like the peculiar sound and editing choices that accompany them. It creates sufficient unease in the piece, which doesn't completely mesh with an overall message of life, love and connection. This is the only major flaw of The Eclipse, as otherwise, it's a smart, contemplative example of filmmaking, leaving a lasting effect without spelling things out for the audience. Included with the DVD is a "Making of" supplement that covers its bases with cast interviews, director intentions and behind the scenes footage. (Mongrel Media)