April 05, 2010

MOVIES: The Eclipse (Conor McPherson, 2010)

Michael (Ciaran Hinds) is a widower living in a small Irish town, still struggling to adapt to life without his wife. He's volunteering, as he always does, for the town's annual literary festival -- running errands, shuttling authors from hotel to convention room to banquet, and so on -- when he meets Lena (Iben Hjejle), who writes about ghosts.

This is an odd coincidence, because Michael thinks he might have been seeing a ghost lately; oddly enough, it is not his wife who's presence he's sensing. Michael and Lena spend time together; he gives her a tour of local attractions, and they strike up a close friendship.

And well... that's about it. The Eclipse winds up an uneasy mix of ghost story and character study, with not quite enough good scares to make a good ghost story and too many of them to let you get deeply involved in the characters. Hinds and Hjejle are both fine, and Aidan Quinn has a nice comic supporting role as a pretentious American author who expects everyone's attention (expecially Lena's) to be on him at all times, but the movie never quite decides what it wants to be, and is therefore vaguely unsatisfying on all fronts.

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