Oisin Hanlon takes aim at Darkness on the Edge of Town, Patrick Ryan’s thriller about a teenage sharpshooter hunting her sister’s killer. The film premiered at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.
Darkness on the Edge of Town follows Emma Eliza Regan’s character, Cleo Callahan, an expert marksman, as she is out for blood over the murder of her beloved estranged sister, played by Olwen Catherine Kelly. Cleo is accompanied by her so-called friend Robin O’Riley, played by newcomer actress Emma Willis. Cleo’s journey for vengeance forces her to commit morally questionable acts at times, resulting in a tension-filled, eerie thriller with more than a hint of a Western.
Brian Gleeson is in a league of his own in terms of performance, playing the conflicted Virgil O’Riley. Gleeson has many powerful scenes in this movie that really stretch an actor’s emotional range. Another stand-out of the film is the beautiful photography – immaculate shots that simultaneously capture both beauty and tension that are transfixing. Tommy Fitzgerald, the cinematographer, has done a marvellous job at showing the tranquillity of the Kerry countryside but somehow stocks it with a sinister undertone.
The individual performances of Emma Willis and Emma Eliza Regan are strong but it’s difficult to buy into the idea that these two characters are childhood best friends as there is a lacking of sincerity in their relationship.
Overall, Darkness on the Edge of Town is an enjoyable thriller rooted in a very creative and unique idea. Whether you buy into a revenge thriller with shoot-outs with an Irish background or not, director Patrick Ryan really delivers an original authentic Irish westernesque piece of cinema.