Sunday, October 23, 2011

Paradise Unlikely: Island

The Outer Hebrides - windswept, foggy, deathly cold and dark by 4pm. Not on most people's list of prime vacation spots.

They are prime real estate, however, for late teen girls seeking revenge against the mothers who abandon them, or, in this iteration, the creepily compelling Natalie Press (Red Road, My Summer of Love), who's dropped in to confront the mom (Janet McTeer) who abandoned her as a little girl.

It just so happens that the woman has a son (Colin Morgan), thus technically the young woman's step brother. This does not preclude our "heroine" from developing an oddball romance with him, despite her stoic mum's faint protests.

Working mostly from the novel by Jane Rogers, co- directors Elizabeth Mitchell and Brek Taylor squeeze out every ounce of bleakness their largely unforgiving landscape has to offer, and the story trundles to it's somewhat inevitable conclusion. The trick is that the performers behave as if they've never seen or been in one of these before. Press, in particular, imbued her character with both the self- righteousness of someone wronged and the unravelling of one unable to do right. Morgan is a likeable but doomedoddbLl, and McTeer is all winces and scowls and sullenness.

Island is a timely reminder that, as bad as things appear, there's always someone going through a greater he'll than yours -and just as desperate to get out.

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