The Eclipse

A Movie That Pissed Me Off by Peter Mayer

“The Eclipse” is a movie about an Irish guy named Michael (Ciarán Hinds) whose wife died of cancer. We know this from the somber lighting of the picture of her wearing a headwrap in a hospital bed. He has two children. He lives in a town that is hosting a literary festival and he is assigned to pick up a hottie novelist and drive her around. He begins to see ghosts and have bad dreams. That just about covers it, in this drab, go-nowhere, pseudo-thriller.

The movie is saved from utter boredom by Aidan Quinn, who plays an obnoxiously narcissistic novelist at the same festival. He has already had a dalliance with Lena Morrell (played aptly by Dane Iben Hjejie) and hopes to continue the romance, although heʼs still not un-married. He drinks his way through the Irish town, insulting everyone he isnʼt trying to bed. Ultimately we care about him and his pathetic plight only because the other stories (Michael seeing ghosts and greiving/Michael and Lenaʼs relationship) are going nowhere.

The frightening moments are truly that: jump out of your seat scary. Again, is this because itʼs scary to have a corpse try to pull you through the bottom of your dresser or because the movie has been so slow to that point that youʼd be startled if a feather landed on your nose? I donʼt know, but I wish the actors would either stop mumbling, speak up, or the sound mixer would equalize the volume. My wife kept asking, “what are you watching that keeps exploding?” like it was a Michael Bay joint.

But the frights donʼt go anywhere. They donʼt even lead anywhere, as youʼre not really sure what they are supposed to accomplish in the plot. Is this a grief movie? Is it a love story? Is it a psychological thriller? It defies genres in that it seeks to touch on all these, but fails pretty badly.

“The Eclipse” is available on DVD.

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