An Irish bog consumes two men seeking revenge and redemption, in Ryan and Andy Tohill’s tense thriller
Twins Ryan and Andy Tohill’s distinctive homecoming parable, further proof of Irish cinema’s resurgent boldness and versatility, finds a striking visual metaphor for the emotional labours required to find peace of mind nowadays. In the prologue’s teachable example of show-don’t-tell film-making, rough-hewn, edgy Ronan (Moe Dunford) returns to the boarded-up farmhouse he once called home with an apparent eye to starting afresh. An obstacle to the quiet life soon emerges, in the form of a crumpled older man, Sean (Lorcan Cranitch), observed digging up the adjoining peat bog. Why his quest agitates the prodigal farmhand is but gradually revealed; yet with admirable economy the Tohills and screenwriter Stuart Drennan establish a stand-off between men in small, dark holes who have sublimated all feeling into obsessive, possibly futile activity.
Certain shots framing these worker ants against the horizon reminded this viewer of Philip Haas’s underseen film of Paul Auster’s The Music of Chance, which set two disparate drifters to assembling a stone wall on an eccentric recluse’s estate. Yet the Tohills’ antagonists aren’t building but excavating, dragging themselves towards early or shallow graves; the idea of a long-buried past resurfacing in the Irish present carries a renewed resonance. Below the film’s mournful top layer, there lurks a simmering, suppressed violence. We fear relations between this pair will only deteriorate if either party finds what they’re looking for; and while Sean’s daughter Roberta initially holds out some prospect of escaping these ruts, tending Ronan’s calluses and keeping a lid on his rage, Emily Taaffe’s portrayal gives even this prospective peacemaker her own flinty secrets.The Dig review – a hole lot of buried rage
An Irish bog consumes two men seeking revenge and redemption, in Ryan and Andy Tohill’s tense thrillerwww.theguardian.com