Filled with unnerving characters and an ominous atmosphere The Winter Lake is a trip of a film for those in a macabre mood.
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New Irish feature film The Winter Lake, written by David Turpin (The Lodgers) and directed by first-time feature director Phil Sheerin, will have its World Premiere at the virtual, online Galway Film Fleadh at 9:00 pm on Friday, July 10th.
Starring Anson Boon as young recluse Tom who has been banished to the wilds of rural Ireland The Winter Lake follows him and his mom Elaine (Charlie Murphy) as they simply try and live together. Elaine blames Tom for their current predicament and drowns her sorrows in alcohol.
Then Elaine and Tom meet their neighbours Holly (Emma Mackey) and her father Ward (Michael McElhatton). From there events get far more complicated and disturbing.
In the depths of The Winter Lake
The Winter Lake is a film filled with tension and dread. There is a reality to the story and the characters that has such a potency to it. First, there are the characters. Tom and Elaine are a broken entity. Tom’s reclusive and destructive nature has pushed his young mother into a corner that she is trying to drink her way out of.
Both Murphy and Boon bring a broken vulnerability to their performances that is compelling. Boon’s Tom feels separated, alien from everyone around him. Murphy is desperately trying to claw her way back to some semblance of normalcy.
To compliment these two are the father/daughter duo of Ward and Holly. These two are also broken but in a completely different way and it’s far more sinister. There is Mackey’s Holly who has a bewitching air of mystery to her. Then there is McElhatton’s Ward. McElhatton gives his signature style to playing Ward, giving a complex and nuanced performance. Much like the rest of the film, there is a sinister edge to Ward and McElhatton pulls it off well.
The sights and sounds of this rural setting
The soundscape of The Winter Lake is a fascinating one. There is a constant sense of tension throughout the film. Especially when the film enters its third act where the tension builds to quite an intense climax.
Director Phil Sheerin knows when to pull back though so that it doesn’t seem over the top and this sense of reality adds further credence to the world built within the film.
If there were any issues it would be that I felt the pace of the film was brisk. I would have preferred the film had slowed down to let the story and characters breathe because as the stress of the situation Tom finds himself in builds I would have appreciated more room to connect with him as a character.
The Winter Lake is a film filled with riveting performances from an intimate cast. First time director Phil Sheerin shows off real promise and I look forward to what he does next.