In the latest of my fannish adventures, on Monday April 25th I was lucky enough to see a screening of Island, an indie film directed by Elizabeth Mitchell and Brek Taylor. But I didn’t go to support independent British cinema, I went because I have a huge fan crush on actor Colin Morgan. Even so, I found there was a lot for me to like in this film other than just Morgan’s pretty face.
The film opens with 29 year old Nikki Black (Natalie Press) travelling to a very remote Scottish island, supposedly for a geography project. Yet she seems more interested in doodling in her Arabian Nights book rather than working. On her arrival, she spots a notice for a room for rent and heads up to an old house nestled in the middle of nowhere. There she ends up staying with the witchy Phyllis Lovage (Janet McTeer) and her son Callum (Morgan.) Phyllis seems to have an incredibly tight hold on her son, never having let him leave the island in all 24 years of his life. Just as you’d expect, this has made Callum more than a bit weird. He collects strange things like bottles and shoes, calling them his ‘treasures’, and believes that the fairy stories his father told him are true.
It soon becomes clear that Nikki is not on the island for a geography project and her arrival has caused a lot of tension in the house. There is a sense that blood is going to be spilled, and a twist ending that is almost too shocking to believe.
The first thing you’ll notice when watching this film is that it was obviously made with a very limited budget but they made the very best out of what they had. With no special effects or tricky camera moves (save for some severe cases of shakey cam), it gives the film a very naturalistic look. And this really gives the film it’s power. The story is told largely with visuals, with the titular island providing a feeling of isolation and terror, a lot like the old house in The Woman in Black. The island the filmmakers chose as their location somehow manages to be both bleak and beautiful, kind of like a Scottish Brokeback Mountain. Shots of scenery or wildlife set the scene without dragging on too long. All except for one shot of a huge spider, which lasted far too long for my liking!
I went to the film to see Colin Morgan, who was just as adorable and brilliant as expected. He seems to be one of those people who literally everything he does is awesome. He portrays Callum as socially awkward, psychologically troubled, and permanently stuck in his childhood, switching suddenly from sweet and innocent to murderously violent.
All three actors are almost too good for words and every single shot works beautifully. It also makes me incredibly happy to see successful female directors, and this film has two!
My verdict – 8/10
Be sure to check out the film’s official website – http://www.islandthemovie.com It’s very cool!!