Monday, March 28, 2016

iona (the film)...

Moira and I, along with friends Gareth, Alan, Eilidh and Ed went to the Watershed this afternoon to see Scott Graham’s film “Iona”. The storyline is about a woman called Iona (played by Ruth Negga) who, after a brutal crime, has sought refuge with her teenage son, Bull (played by Ben Gallacher), on the island of her birth that's also her namesake.
As you might imagine, having visited the island a number of times and having spent two months there as a volunteer with the Iona Community in 2012, this was obviously a must-see film for me… and so I spent a good deal of the film thinking to myself “yes, I know that place very well… and just down there lives so-and-so” and remembering the weekly ceilidh in the village hall (where we were NOT allowed any alcohol, incidentally!).   
Another plus-point was that the film also featured the excellent Douglas Henshall (who played Jimmy Perez in the “Shetland” TV series) as a widower crofter.
Graham makes excellent use of the Hebridean landscapes (even though the weather wasn’t as good as my time on the island in 2012!) and pays close attention to the part religion plays in the island's life (but perhaps a little too fleetingly to my mind?). He also deals sensitively with the courtship between Bull and a beautiful young girl (played by Sorcha Groundsell) who can't walk.
The film moves at a very slow pace and dialogue is relatively sparse… which seems only to accentuate the unspoken mystery of past events. The more we learn about the characters, the less mysterious they become. The plot is only revealed very slowly…
It would be wrong for me to give away too much about the storyline(!)… but it essentially involves guilt between members of a small family and one is left with the feeling that, within a tiny island community, “the truth will out, so don’t try to hide it”.
I’ve just read through some reviews of the film and some of them (particularly the American ones?) don’t seem to have much knowledge or comprehension of what it’s like to live on a tiny Scottish island such as this.
I enjoyed the film very much – although perhaps I’m slightly biased!

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