The childhood home of the mother he barely knew to be sold following the death of his aunt, against the wishes of his father Hamish Considine has chosen to visit the cottage on the rocky shores of Donegal, a place he believed he had never been, driving across miles of misty rolling heathland in a rented car with no company other than his thoughts, not even music playing.
An act of empathy, seeking connection with a past he doesn’t know which might bring an understanding of who he is, in a moment his pilgrimage becomes a tragedy as he collides head-on with a speeding vehicle on a blind bend; awakening in hospital with only bruises and a fractured arm, Hamish is fortunate to wake up at all; the driver of the other car, a fifteen-year old local boy, was not so lucky.
Its UK premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival attended by writer/director Antonia Campbell Hughes who also appears as the mother of the dead child, Cosmo Jarvis who plays Hamish and Claes Bang who plays Hamish’s father Robert, geographically and emotionally remote, It Is In Us All is a difficult film of remorse and unresolved grief.
While Hamish is not exactly welcomed in the community, even accepted by the cows, there is an acknowledgement that this is his home and that he was not responsible for the accident, but only Evan (Rhys Mannion) reaches out to him, the passenger in the other car who desperately seeks something upon which to anchor himself, pushing himself on Hamish and talking of everything but his best friend now lost.
A sparse film with little to distract from a permeating anguish as thick as the damp fog, Hamish has inherited his mother’s stubborn streak and his father’s knack for evasion, silently brooding and punishing himself while allowing Evan to become attached to him, dancing around the painful void which binds them together, somewhere between nihilistic flirtation and a need to establish dominance.
It Is In Us All built upon the performances of Jarvis and Mannion, it is they who carry a film which takes a long time to travel little distance, Hamish and Evan clinging to each other to save themselves from falling into an abyss of guilt while other matters which would build the drama – the failure of the Garda to follow up discrepancies in a fatal accident, the comments that Hamish’s mother and aunt could have been twins, Robert’s lies about the life and death of Hamish’s mother’s – are ignored in favour of frustrating ambiguity.
Edinburgh International Film Festival concluded on Saturday 20th August
It Is In Us All is scheduled for release on Friday 23rd September