Love & Savagery John N. Smith

Love & Savagery John N. Smith
From what I understand, there are those that idealize the simpler life, yearning for the traditionalist family values of yesteryear, romanticizing the rural community where everyone is acquainted and catches up weekly at church. And I'll have to assume that none of these people has any concept of what it might be like to be anything other than a straight white man of God in an environment of this nature. If little else, Love & Savagery understands this: the solipsism and intense hatred of differing beliefs and lifestyles that manifest in environments exclusive enough to allow it. Taking place in the late '60s, a geologist from Newfoundland visits the small Irish village of Ballyvaughan to examine some sort of geological wonder that seems incidental and essentially disappears within 20 minutes. Instead, Michael (Allen Hawco), the rock doctor, finds preoccupation in trying to bed the comely Cathleen (Sarah Greene), who, unfortunately, is already sealed to God, leaving the men of the town threatening violence should the pair spend time together. Despite this promising, if familiar, premise of forbidden love, which is handled sincerely, there is little passion to be found here outside of fleeting hormones. Some minor development and connection come with the man of science/woman of God angle, but mostly they just stare at each other wanting to bone. Michael's motivations are clear, and we understand that Cathleen might want to get her nasty on before donning a habit and making marzipan all day, but calling it love is a little ridiculous. Both actors do their best to transcend this issue, but flat direction and a meandering, colloquial screenplay that dips into overt exposition a little too often make for a tiring film that has the misfortune of featuring extended close-ups of drunken Irishmen listening to Celtic music. Of course, with attractive leads and lingering shots of gorgeous coastal scenery, it is possible no one will notice these many shortcomings. Alas, no special features are included with the DVD, leaving only a scene index and a variety of trailers. (Mongrel Media)