19 January 2013 | cressup
Silent scenes that still speak volumes
I would disagree with some of the reviewers on here that the dialogue is weak or flimsy - it is certainly understated but that's really part of the whole film. When something so dramatic happens to the characters there doesn't need to be a rapid outpouring of feelings and melodramatic soliloquies - in fact by keeping it understated Abrahamson slowly builds up the tension as to what it is Richard is exactly going to do next. There may be several shots of silence in this film, but that doesn't mean they aren't saying anything.
There are flashes of brilliance, especially in the scenes between father and son, but I was slightly unnerved/annoyed by the complete lack of mother figure in all of this - the characters are all given some amount of layers which are built upon and yet we see Richard's mother for two short scenes only. I can't imagine that Abrahamson didn't mean for this to be the case but for me it broke the realism slightly - as his mother, wouldn't she have thought something was different about her son recently? It could have added a more interesting aspect to the father as well in that he didn't want to let her in on her son's secret but for some reason she is never dealt with.
Overall though, a beautifully tranquil soundtrack and a cinematography of rustic, windswept Dublin outskirts add to the haunted performance by Jack Reynor to make a slow building but thoughtful film. I think calling it the most important Irish film of the decade could be stretching it a bit - but it's certainly got me looking forward to Abrahamson's next work, which might well be.