Movies: Rewind ****
(15A, GENERAL RELEASE)
Once upon a time, you could tell an Irish film a mile off because it was so shoddy to look at. But these days a welcome visual polish has become if not the norm then at least relatively common.
Both of this week's Irish releases, Wake Wood and this nice, little thriller from cinematographer and first-time director PJ Dillon, are very visually accomplished.
And there's real style to the way Dillon tells his dark and disturbing story.
Amy Huberman is Karen, a former drug addict who has found happiness with her husband and little girl.
Things couldn't be going better overall, until a most unwelcome blast from the past enters her life. Karl (Allen Leach) confronts Karen when she's out with her daughter, and insists they "catch up" on the old days. Karl has just got out of prison after serving time for a killing in which Karen was implicated: when she was taking drugs, she turned tricks to earn money.
Karl knows where the bodies are buried, and has incriminating evidence of Karen's former life and the scams she used to be involved in. Whether he's in love with her, though, or merely trying to blackmail her remains unclear. And, as Karl entices her into meeting the man he claims is threatening to expose them both, PJ Dillon builds his tension nicely.
Rewind is stylishly gloomy and well-enough written to keep you on the edge of your seat for most of its 90-odd minutes. Leech is very good as the creep, and the hugely photogenic Huberman nearly managed to convince me she'd lived a shameful double life in the sex trade.
Rewind's story is maybe stretched a little thin in the end, but that doesn't take from the fact this is a hugely promising feature debut.
Day & Night