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Sea, The


Stars: Ciaran Hinds, Charlotte Rampling, Natascha McElhone, Rufus Sewell, Bonnie Wright, Sinéad Cusack, Matthew Dillon, Karl Johnson

Director: Stephen Brown

Mournful, pretty miserable Irish film that centres on Max (Hinds), an alcoholic biographer of painters whose wife (Cusack) has just died from cancer; harrowing scenes depict their last days together.

Now he returns to the coastal village where he spent a summer as a 10-year-old that turned out to be anything but idyllic.

The house where he met a very hyper English family proves to be now a boarding house run by tight-lipped Miss Vavasour (Rampling); there is only one other guest.

Flash back 50 years or so, and young Max (Dillon) shares the beach with the Grace family, whose vivacity intrigues him.

But odd undercurrents run through the family. Mother Connie (McElhone) has seduced the nanny (Wright, Harry Potter's squeeze, with almost nothing to do). Cavalier husband Carlo (Sewell) is having it off with a village girl (Amy Molloy), while the twins, Chloe and mute Myles (Missy Keating, Padhraig Parkinson), who are always fighting, are unhealthily obsessed with one another, even though the girl flirts with Max.

This family is more than a bit off-kilter and an ensuing tragedy is no surprise.

Acting is generally unattractive. Rampling glides impassively through her role, while Hinds does an impression of a constipated walrus. 'I suppose I could drown myself,' he remarks to his dying wife, and you kinda wish he might; admittedly he does try it later on.

There's a little twist at the end that you may see coming, and lovely photography of County Wexford's sandy coast; but if you're suffering from any kind of depression, you should probably stay away.

David Quinlan

Ireland 2013. UK Distributor: Independent Films. Colour (unspecified).
86 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 15 Apr 2014