" The meek wanna inherit the earth they gotta fuckin get in line "
— Bruno Kirby, Donnie Brasco

MRQE Top Critic

The Fifth Estate

One of the year's most exciting movies. —Matt Anderson (review...)

Cumberbatch assumes he's the Fifth Estate

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Inconclusiveness seldom qualifies as a dramatic virtue, but in the slender and delicately mounted Irish movie The Eclipse, unanswered questions become an enhancement.

Michael is haunted, perhaps literally
Michael is haunted, perhaps literally

Director Conor McPherson, who usually writes plays and directs theater, sets up a drama involving three characters who meet during the course of a literary festival that’s being held in the tiny Irish seaport town of Cobh. Ciarán Hinds plays a local widower and shop teacher who each year volunteers to chauffeur visiting authors around town. Hinds’ Michael is haunted (perhaps literally) by ferocious visions that seem connected to the death of his late wife. Lena Morelle plays a visiting writer who’s unsure of her talent, and Aidan Quinn portrays a successful novelist who had a fling with Morelle’s character at a previous festival. He’s married.

Although it includes several vividly depicted, horror-movie style apparitions, The Eclipse probably is best understood as a narrow-gauged drama about the lingering power of undigested grief. As such, the story belongs mostly to Hinds’ Michael — the father of two kids — who must find a way to renew his shattered life. Don’t look for anything earth shaking, but know that McPherson — working from a script by Billy Roche — convincingly explores the needs, crippling and otherwise, of characters who are carefully sketched in both writing and performance.