Daniel Lynch takes a look at Ciarán Creagh’s In View, the latest offering to a much needed public discourse on Ireland’s suicide epidemic.
Ciarán Creagh’s In View reminds me of an essay from my undergraduate years, ‘Suicide is neither rational nor irrational’. We are offered the sobering alcoholic contemplations of the viewpoint of a singular character who struggles with suicidal thoughts after suffering loss and harbouring massive residual guilt. Caoilfhionn Dunne as Ruth carries the film, and to paraphrase the director, without her immense performance the film wouldn’t work. It seems hard to fathom the Love/Hate star was drafted in as a late replacement.
During a questions and answers session, Creagh revealed In View suffered a directorial script massacre, whereby he cut mountains of dialogue and pages from the first draft. These edits clearly paid off however, as the film has air between the scenes and is allowed to breath. When Ruth says something you can be sure it has meaning and power. There is no trivial dialogue, if there is dialogue at all in a given scene.
As the title suggest, we view the world through Ruth’s eyes, myopic and ever reflexive. Windows, doors and even creative use of trees frame Ruth as constantly on the outside looking in, always unsure of her place, even if she wants to be there. The most powerful scene in the movie takes place in a suicide-support group where Ruth is faced with her own reality through another person. Magella’s (Joe Mullins) speech about how he lost his family to infidelity resonates bitterly for Ruth and her transfixed stare speaks volumes.
A strong Irish cast holds the film together, including Stuart Graham as Donny, who provides a father figure for Ruth when others have abandoned her. Initially, Ruth wasn’t written as a woman at all, and the masculine facade of the main character permeates the entire movie. Ruth drinks pints with the boys and tells crass jokes, almost seeks physical confrontation and lacks anything that might be termed feminine charm. The character works immensely more powerfully as a woman however, and the change was a wise one.
Is suicide rational or irrational? In View is the latest offering to a much needed public discourse on Ireland’s suicide epidemic. We cannot assume to understand the pain and suffering of those who contemplate their premature demise. Creagh has offered an important Irish film that deals masterfully with a topic of urgent concern. Cork Film Festival would be well served with more work from Ciarán Creagh.
In View screened on 12th November @ 6.30pm at the Cork Film Festival 2016
Cork Film Festival 2016 runs 11 – 20 November