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  Green Sea, The You Won't Find Redemption At The Bottom Of A Bottle
Year: 2021
Director: Randal Plunkett
Stars: Katharine Isabelle, Hazel Doupe, Dermot Ward, Amy-Joyce Hastings, Ciaron Davies, Jenny Dixon, Rodrigo Ternevoy, Elena Tull, Zeb Moore, Michael Parle, Audrey Hamilton, Eric Branden, Darren Killeen, Conor Marren, Jonathan Caffrey, Ed King, Darren Travers
Genre: Drama, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Simone (Katharine Isabelle) is a writer who used to be in a popular death metal band, and now has one book behind her, but that was published a good while ago and she has been struggling to complete, or even start, the follow-up. She really needs to get on with it because her income will not last forever, but an addiction to alcohol is taking up more of her time than the creativity, and her life has clearly unravelled ever since an incident in her past sent her over the edge and made her a pariah in the Irish village she has made her home. One day her little jeep breaks down while she is out shopping and she is forced to call a local garage who tell her they will need to source new parts for it, because it is an older model. She angrily agrees, but will have an encounter on the way home...

By encounter, this means knocking over a teenage girl, known only as "Kid" (Hazel Doupe), who she picks up and transports back to her house in the ailing car. We can surmise there is more going on here than the film is revealing, which indicates it is one of those stories where you constantly find yourself, willingly or otherwise, trying to second guess the events as they unfold, especially when the action is littered with flashback and flashforward glimpses of what is really going on. You're either a fan of that style of storytelling or you are not, and if not, you are going to find The Green Sea mightily irritating, particularly when that big reveal diminishes what has gone before and sabotages another fine Katharine Isabelle performance through a plot that doesn't stand up to logic.

That would not be so bad if a dreamlike atmosphere was cultivated, but for the most part this preferred to play it realistic, which rendered the last act move into fantasy more of a lurch than a smooth transition, notably when it relied on Simone suffering a bout of extremely convenient amnesia that presumably we were supposed to chalk up to her abuse of the bottle. The trouble was, you just didn't buy it because Isabelle was delivering her role with an authenticity the events it portrayed could not hold convincingly - simply put, while it was always welcome to see her win a lead, she was just too good for what amounted to an Irish version of a twist in the tale yarn that did not necessarily need someone of her calibre to lead you to anticipate a conclusion that did not live up to the three-dimensional incarnation of the old cliché of the boozy rock star.

The director was Randal Plunkett, who not coincidentally was the great-grandson of popular horror and fantasy author Lord Dunsany, a major figure of a couple of generations before, though now better known to scholars of the form or fans of older literature. Apparently, Plunkett was trying out something similar to his ancestor, only in cinematic technique, though you admired his ambition you feared The Green Sea would be lost amid a lot of more lurid efforts that had a lot more attention-grabbing titles than the reach for class that he gave this. There was some interesting material with Simone failing to live down her notoriety for something that was not really her fault, and the community that will not allow her to forget it - except, of course, for the purposes of this, somewhat unbelievably she actually has utterly forgotten it, and allows the Kid to become her cleaner, partly because she doesn't want any more adverse publicity, but also because Simone is lonely. Doupe was decent enough in an enigmatic part, but it was more a case cult star Isabelle was playing to her fans, who yet again wished for a better setting for her talents. Music by Darius McGann.

[Katharine Isabelle stars in 'The Green Sea' a dark fantasy drama on digital 5 July 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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