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Stars: Kelly Reilly, Miranda Richardson, Rita Tushingham, Oscar Pearce, William Houston, Donald Sutherland, Leona Looe, Tina Kellegher, Pat Deery, Ronald Daniels (aka Dan Weldon)

Director: Nicolas Roeg

Cinematographer-turned director Roeg, who made his name in tandem with Donald Cammell with Performance and then achieved solo cult status by showing as much sex as the censor would allow in Don’t Look Now, sadly becomes The Man Who Fell to Earth with this embarrassingly awful supernatural melodrama centred on architect Reilly whose arrival in rural Ireland to revamp a cottage triggers off a silly slew of voodoo from loony neighbour Richardson and her loonier family.

Among the lumpy, lurid ingredients in Dan Weldon’s unfortunate adaptation of his mother Fay’s novel are realistically staged sex in the woods and in the hay, and supernaturally-induced nightmares, along with some of the worst overacting you could ever hope to miss.

Richardson is over-the-top most of the time but seems like a mime in comparison with her mother (Tushingham) who, when she is not spying on the lovers and retrieving a used condom for her witch’s brew, emotes like a panto audition. She is, I imagine, supposed to be creepy but ends up as more Grimm than grim. Reilly is attractive and deserves some sort of award for bravery in the face of the script and direction, Sutherland turns up for no apparent dramatic reason except that he was in Don’t Look Now, which would be my advice for anyone contemplating seeing this nonsense to which you have already contributed via the National Lottery. Go Walkabout instead.

Alan Frank

UK/Canada/Ireland 2006. UK Distributor: Yume Pictures. Technicolor.
120 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 14 Jul 2008