Friday 24 November 2017

Movies: One Hundred Mornings *****


Paul Whitington

In bad big-budget Hollywood apocalypse sagas, aliens, explosions and giant tsunamis herald the collapse of civilisation, which results in endless charging around and screaming.

But in Conor Horgan's One Hundred Mornings, we're given a much more sober and disturbing insight into what might happen if the wheels of the global economy came off. From a shabby cabin in the Wicklow hills, a man called Jonathan (Ciarán McMenamin) emerges for a morning cigarette. Jonathan, his partner Hannah (Alex Reid) and another couple called Mark (Rory Keenan) and Katie (Kelly Campbell) have been stranded in the cabin for months in the aftermath of an unspecified catastrophe.

Power and water are gone and the petrol pumps are empty, and as a consequence the Irish countryside has become a dangerous place. The couples have managed to amass a larder of canned goods to keep themselves fed, but law and order have broken down and one morning two local guards turn up to 'requisition' their supplies. Their only neighbour is Tim (Robert O'Mahony), the classic mean hippie who pretends to be affable but is really only interested in saving himself. To complicate matters, Jonathan and Katie have been having an affair, and the growing enmity between the couples mirrors the collapse of wider society.

Beautifully photographed and impeccably paced, One Hundred Mornings asks the simple question: if the lights go out, how long will our veneer of humanity survive thereafter? Helped by fine performances, especially from McMenamin and the charismatic Campbell, Horgan makes a virtue of his shoestring budget, cleverly hinting at horrors that would inevitably be less scary if the apocalypse was explained.

This is a cleverly constructed and surprisingly gripping drama, and the best Irish film so far this year.

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