class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-13668″ title=”Ondine Poster” src=”https://www.heyuguys.com/images/2010/03/Ondine-Poster-220×150.jpg” alt=”” width=”220″ height=”150″ />HeyUGuys were fortunate to see a preview of Neil Jordan’s (Interview with the Vampire, The Crying Game) latest release ‘Ondine’ last week. Filmed in the beautiful Beara Peninsula, West Ireland, it is a ‘modern fairy tale’ fused with strong hints of Celtic myth. Ondine tells the story of Syracuse (Colin Farrell), a loveable loner and reformed alcoholic fisherman who catches Ondine (played by Farrell’s partner Actress Alicja Bachleda-Curus) in his fishing net.
The film concentrates on the theories regarding Ondines origins as she transforms the lives of Syracuse, his estranged wife (Dervla Kirwan), daughter Annie (Alison Barry) and the local townsfolk – where it appears everyone knows everyone’s business.
However it is his daughter Annie (played superbly by young actress Barry – definitely one to watch), who believes that the woman is a ‘Selkie’, a sea creature of legend that’s capable of assuming human form by shedding its seal skin, which truly pulls at the audiences emotions. There are many wry smiles provoked by Annie’s comments regarding her Fathers behaviour and Ondines origins; all supported by her ability to appear wise beyond her years.
With a strong cast supported by long standing Jordan steward Stephen Rea, Farrell and Barry gently develop a deep bond as father and daughter. Farrell is well cast and holds the film as Syracuse, a man who takes the each day as it comes and has grown to have few expectations of what life will bring him. Equally Bachleda-Curus whose beauty and intrigue as the Selkie is captivating. She is totally believable as the ‘Selkie’ and with so many events bringing good fortune upon Syracuse it is hard not to believe her character and Annie’s beliefs.
With Annie’s far from ideal relationship with mother and her partner, she also suffers from poor health, leading to her dependence on a wheelchair. These circumstances alone are why Annie so wants Ondine and her father to create ‘family’ stability she yearns for. The film’s best moments come in the tender scenes between Syracuse and Ondine in their enduring bond between father and daughter.
The film’s gentle pace is easy to watch and with this fusion of myth and real life is nicely balanced to the point where the viewer isn’t sure how this will end. Something that Jordan has crafted over the years to an art.
Jordans feature has successfully blended a sense of realism and fantasy. Whist this balance is carefully managed, the story may be too surreal for some viewers to appreciate, especially as this does require the viewer to hold any rationale judgment and logic. It is truly endearing but as it is neither drama nor fantasy on occasions it is difficult to comprehend exactly what to expect the film to be. This could also be argued this is what makes this film so unique.
Despite its innocent charm and sweet appeal, Ondine is unlikely to be acknowledged as one of Jordan’s best. This is by no way a criticism but given the high demand for high tech 3D movies this will be a challenge. Equally it could be argued the film’s title doesn’t give much away and which could work against this film, hopefully I’m wrong on this. Released in the UK on the 5th March, it will be interesting to see how this fairs at the box office. It is a superb film and one to watch. Perhaps Farrell’s association alone is all this film needs.