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GOD’S CREATURES (2022, IRS) – 8/10


This dark rural Irish drama was one of those unexpected pleasant surprises. In large part thanks to the great performance of the already somewhat forgotten English actress Emily Watson, who would have gone down in history if only she had played Bess in Von Trier’s “Breaking the Waves”. Watson, in the debut feature of editor Saela Davis and cinematographer Anna Rose Holmer, is Aileen, a woman from one of those sleepy fishing towns. She works as a shift manager at a local fish and seafood processing facility, and her co-worker’s son recently drowned while illegally fishing.

Illegal fishing is actually the main preoccupation of almost all the men in the town, and one of them is Francie, who is violent towards his young wife Sarah (Aisling Franciosi). She was previously in a relationship with Aileen’s son Brian (Paul Mescal from Normal People) who will suddenly return home from Australia. What Brian was doing in Australia, why he went there and why he came back is a big mystery, and while the mother is overjoyed that her son has returned home, her enthusiasm is not shared by the rest of the family. His father Con doesn’t want to hear from Brian, nor does his older sister Erin, and this mysterious and taciturn young man has decided to take up the family business of oyster / oyster farming, which he doesn’t seem to have been too interested in before.

And a mother would do anything for her prodigal son, so she will steal a few packages of oysters from the factory where she works for Brian to start his business, but we will soon see that the mother is ready to do much more for her son. After Sarah accuses Brian of rape, Aileen will provide him with an alibi believing that her son would never do such a thing. However, as time will pass, Aileen seems to realize that Brian was probably never the hard-working, honest, calm and decent young man she perceived him to be, but clearly has something sociopathic, dark, evil in him. Mescal, again in a somewhat muted version, brilliantly plays that initially silent, mysterious, self-confident and in some way charming young man, whom no one would guess what he is like at first.

However, this is usually the case with similar types, appearance and behavior can be deceiving, so Aileen will realize that she actually had a completely distorted idea of ​​her son, that she idealized him and defended him no matter what he did. It is a film about the guilt and shame that Aileen will face once she realizes what is actually happening before her eyes, and her decisions and actions will affect many lives and destinies here. This dark drama was filmed – a character study in the standard typical British realist style. The pace here is quite slow, the environment is gloomy as it usually is in such remote places in winter, the story is quite enigmatic and slowly unravels, and all this leads to a rather shocking climax at the end.