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Indie Movie Review – The Isle

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I can almost hear everyone who’s read my previous mutterings chant along with me when I say that horror really isn’t my thing. Fortunately, the RunPee family does have a resident horror expert and she usually gets the first pick of them. However, this is a different kettle of fish… The Isle might look like a horror but it is, in fact, better described as a mystery/period/drama/thriller. You don’t get sudden, loud shocks accompanied by spurts of blood and flying body parts instead you get a slow burn which gradually ramps up the tension.

Now, it’s not my place to say which is the better form of the genre… each is valid. Some people love physical, exaggerated comedy like Jacques Tati, Buster Keaton, or Rowan Atkinson’s Mr. Bean whereas others prefer the more subtle, carefully observed characters devised by the likes of Woody Allen, Oscar Wilde, or Stephen Fry… same general subject but totally different approaches. As Sartre said “we are our choices”… or was it Dumbledore?

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No Man Is An Island…

Having got through my usual rambling preamble you might well be wondering when I’m going to start talking about the actual film and what it’s like. So… The Isle is a beautifully shot, compelling film featuring skilled actors, atmospheric locations, and an intriguing plot. It was shot on Eilean Shona which is tucked into the mouth of Loch Moidart and not all alone and out at sea as it seems to be in the film. Despite the goings-on portrayed, I’d quite happily go there for a holiday.

Then there is the cast. The top name is Conleth Hill as Douglas Innis though you might not recognize him with a full head of hair and a different accent. OK, he’s done a lot more than Lord Varys but he is known as a chameleonic actor so there’s no surprise when you have to look twice to make sure it’s him! Besides Mr. Hill, we also have Alex Hassell who has many high-profile credits to his name both in TV and cinema. And I can’t not mention my new favourite actor, Tori Butler-Hart as Lanthe Innis. She is spellbinding in The Isle!

…Entire Of Itself

So The Isle is not a jump and scream horror. It is a very well-performed, slow-burn, supernatural drama. I did a bit of nosing around and the reviews seem to be split 50/50; half saying it was dull and boring and the other half saying that it was an excellently executed fantasy thriller. This situation seems to have been exacerbated by whoever put the trailers together. There were two made; the original UK trailer shows a slow-burn folk thriller whereas the one for the US release was re-edited and cut by twenty seconds to make it look like a horror.

I think it’s only fair to say that, having just found out about Matthew and Tori Butler-Hart and their production company, Fizz And Ginger Films, I’ve started checking out their other works and you can guarantee that I’ll be mentioning them again. What I’ve seen so far tells me that they are a very talented and capable outfit. As well as the folk/horror that is The Isle they’ve just released the SciFi/Mystery Infinitum: Subject Unknown which I also thoroughly enjoyed; they are not bound to any particular genre. This is an exciting and talented new production company and I look forward to whatever they do next as well as looking for their previous releases… watch this space!

Movie Grade: B+

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