The Eclipse

Spoiler Alert: This Film is Atrocious

The Eclipse

Starring: Ciaran Hines, Aiden Quinn

By Robert Patrick

“The Eclipse,” director Conor McPherson’s pseudo-love story set in Ireland, has nothing to do with the Twilight film adaptations. Strange, since there are a lot of similar shortcomings. McPherson’s movie has so much diluted romance and mottled horror that, aside from the age of the actors, I could barely tell the difference in quality. The story revolves around a widowed man, named Michael (Ciaran Hines), whose primary job is to drive around budding literary wizards to an annual writing event held in Cobh County, Ireland. En route to spinning the wheel around the countryside, Michael meets the elitist Nicholas Holden (Aiden Quinn), a fiction writer with a penchant for arrogance and disheveled hair, and Lena Morelle (Iben Hjejle), a novelist whose work dips into the realms of the supernatural. The movie relies on lukewarm interactions between the three adults, varying in mood and scope, that ultimately end in emotional failure.

The lackadaisical Michael toddles about, looking glum and awkward, until he begins to see apparitions of people both alive and dead. None of the events are really explained throughout the movie, possibly to build tension, though its really just an unwanted elephant in the room rather than a mysterious subplot. The atmosphere, thinking it buoyantly bobs between romantic drama and supernatural thriller, never really adequately works off one another.

When Michael isn’t having ghosts lunge at him, he spends time goofily pussyfooting around the idea of social tactility. There is a lot of garrulity, throughout the entire movie, that gets excessively tiring. Michael is talking with Lena about something nondescript. The next scene Michael is culling unintelligible words from his mouth in explanation to something entirely uneventful. Another scene sees Michael speaking to himself over his laptop. It is almost as if the chief writer of “The Eclipse,” Conor McPherson, had so much verbiage in his head he didn’t even try to edit it and, instead of doing the right thing, just left every expendable word in the screenplay. McPherson’s film has so much dialogue, none of it being engaging whatsoever, that it’s like listening to white noise for an hour and a half. My favorite line of the movie, said by a flailing Aiden Quinn, is “I’m not drunk! I’m not drunk! I’m not drunk! I’m not drunk!”

The plot, for being so ridiculously linear, is wholly confusing. Why do these characters behave as if they were written by a teenager in drama class? Why do the spectral sequences look like deleted footage from “The Sixth Sense”? Why is poorly written romance being staple-gunned to the back of dully-written horror? The whole thing is a sullied mess that, by the end of the first hour, makes you wonder just when the plot will become coherent.

For a running-time of less than two hours, “The Eclipse” builds up so slow that it would need a supporting seventeen episode mini-series to actually get to the point of having empathy for the characters. Want some spoilers? Aiden Quinn is less portly than usual and nothing of consequence happens. Want to watch a better movie with the name “Eclipse” in it? Try Antonioni’s “L’eclisse.”


Author: Rob Patrick

The program director of the Olympia Film Society, Rob is also a former San Diego Film Critics Society member. He has written for The East County Californian, The Alpine Sun, The East County Herald, The San Diego Entertainer, and the San Diego Reader. When he isn't curating a film festival, he is drinking rosé out of a plastic cup in Seattle or getting tattoos from Jenn Champion.

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