When Ian witnesses the death of his father at a very young age he is immediately struck by the loss, as would be expected, but an encounter with the body of a hanged girl in the woods at age 16 causes him to retreat further into isolation in a search for his place in the world. As he searches both himself and the Internet for answers he enters a world where finding those answers means getting closer to the only thing that he really knows, death. He seeks out women who are as suicidal as he is and connects with life in a way that he never knew possible.
Based on a Japanese novel called In Love With The Dead by Kei Oishi, Brendan Muldowney’s second feature film is a fantastical journey through the eyes of a man who has no idea who he is or why he exists in the world as he sees it. In adapting the work, which originally featured a lot of necrophilia, Muldowney has successfully created a portrait of a man who has no idea how to live, but in death finds the right path. Seen through the eyes of Ian (de Hoog) there is a fantastical element at play that is aided by Westerlaken’s superb score and the intentionally pan European setting. Tom Comerford’s cinematography is also terrific as the sweeping shots of the forest and blossoming flowers add perfectly to the score to give a sense of how small we all are.
For his part de Hoog is sobering in the role of Ian, a man so disconnected from life as to make you feel every heart breaking moment he spends trying to find the answers. Big praise must go to the female cast who form the backbone of the film. Emma Eliza Regan and Amanda Ryan are both top drawer as the women Ian encounters on his journey with Pollyanna McIntosh rounding it off delivering a touching performance as the emotionally scarred Naomi.
What ultimately makes it all work is Muldowney’s vision of how small we are in this world and how hard it can be to find out just who and where we are.
A wonderful idea cemented in creative story telling and excellent casting; Love Eternal is hypnotic.