Ondine

22 Jul

Title: Ondine
Year: 2010
Director: Neil Jordan
Writer: Neil Jordan
Starring: Colin Farrell, Alicja Bachleda-Curus, Stephen Rea, Dervla Kirwan
MPAA Rating: PG-13, some violence, sensuality and brief strong language
Runtime: 111 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 7.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%

This film is far from perfect, but it does remind us that Neil Jordan is a unique auteur, he has such an ability to make everything seem so dream-like that he always captivates us with his magic, and in Ondine that’s no different, plus we get to see Colin Farrell giving one helluva performance, showing a vulnerability he has, I would believe, never quite displayed in any of his other films to this extent, and with a performance like that added to the magic of the world Mr. Jordan created we get a pleasing and successful film as the end result, unless you get completely bogged down by the melodrama that starts building up towards the end, which I thankfully was able to avoid.

It is the story of a fisherman, and the mythical sea creature he encounters, and from that point forth we know were are watching a Neil Jordan film, the world he creates in this one is fantastical, all while still maintaining the realism of the real world, and when this film works best is when the line between the two worlds seems a bit blurred. Syracuse, the fisherman that’s played by Mr. Farrell, is introduced to us quickly as a guy who’s a recovering alcoholic, who has a really sick little girl and who fishes to sustain his family. In one of those daily fishing trips, which are shot beautifully by cinematographer Christopher Doyle who’s the guy that did In the Mood for Love which is one of the best shot films of the last decade, Syracuse takes up his net after throwing it in the water and there’s a girl’s body there, he revives her and she pleads him not to tell the authorities, which he doesn’t and instead takes her to the cottage he inherited from his mother, which is just as beautiful a location as everything else in the film.

The beautiful Alicja Bachleda-Curus plays the woman, Ondine, and she really does have chemistry with Mr. Farrell, the fact that she’s been his girlfriend for over a year and they have a kid together obviously helped that, but she’s a beautiful woman who conveys the emotions of this mysterious girl really well and was great playing alongside Colin Farrell, the mythology of this all is introduced by Annie, the sick child of Syracuse, who tells her dad that she thinks Ondine is a selkie, which is a mythical creature that’s half human and half seal, which would explain why lots of fishes come straight to Syracuse’s net when she sings.

Unfortunately the film then gets way too melodramatic for my personal taste, but all in all I thought Ondine was a winner, I thought the direction was great, the cinematography was appropriately gorgeous and both lead performances were quite good, especially the one from Mr. Farrell, who after starting out, and getting famous out of mediocre performances in films like Daredevil, Miami Vice, S.W.A.T. and, let’s not forget (even though we’d all like to), Alexander has found himself doing great stuff for the past few years, what with his performances in In Bruges, Cassandra’s Dream, Crazy Heart and this one being positively encouraging, and I hope this streak doesn’t end soon, because his performances have a feeling to them I really like. So, yes, this is not a perfect film but if you like Neil Jordan’s previous stuff you’ll most likely like this one, maybe not as much, but you’ll like it nevertheless.

Grade: B

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