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February 20, 2006

Isolation, 2005

isolation.gifFor his debut feature, Isolation, filmmaker Billy O'Brien channels the spirit of Ridley Scott's Alien and David Cronenberg-styled organic metamorphosis to craft an old-fashioned, by-the-book science fiction thriller. On an isolated, rundown farm on the Irish countryside, a farmer named Dan (John Lynch) agrees to participate on a research project designed to increase bovine fertility and accelerate beef production on the recommendation of the town veterinarian, long-time friend and former lover, Orla (Essie Davis). But soon, despite extensive monitoring that seem to indicate a successful graft, the two begin to sense that the experiment has not gone completely according to plan, a nagging suspicion that is further reinforced when during a routine checkup, Orla is seemingly bitten by the unborn calf. Unable to contact Orla on the evening of the impending birth and unable to manage the task single-handedly, John summons a pair of runaway lovers squatting on the farm for help, a fateful connection that would unwittingly bind them to the mutated creature and the experimental farm. Although O'Brien demonstrates a keen eye for sustaining tension through shot composition and landscape to create a competent and atmospheric horror film, the film inevitably suffers from a derivative plot that lends itself to a certain degree of predictability and formulaic resolution.

Posted by acquarello on Feb 20, 2006 | | Filed under 2006, Film Comment Selects


I can't believe someone other than myself actually saw this movie! I allowed it to myself as a guilty pleasure at our recent Irish Film Festival. Your final summation is spot on. I was tense throughout the film, but not by anything new and unexpected. And noted how the old trope of "Don't open that door!" had been replaced by "Don't go walking in that water!!"

Posted by: Maya on Mar 14, 2006 12:18 PM | Permalink

Indeed. It was well done, but the plot turns were overdone. :)

Posted by: acquarello on Mar 14, 2006 3:36 PM | Permalink

"..a farmer named John (Marcel Iures)..."
Perhaps a minor point, but the farmer is called Dan and is played by John Lynch..

Posted by: P. on Jul 20, 2006 8:53 AM | Permalink

Ah, thanks for pointing that out. It's been corrected.

Posted by: acquarello on Jul 20, 2006 3:42 PM | Permalink

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