June 4, 2010
On the Big Board
||Small scale triumph that demonstrates fairy tales don't need big budgets and high drama.
||If Richard Curtis had had a hand in this at least it would have been jaunty. This is way too slow and angsty. Bachleda is lovely though.
Colin Farrell is a changed man. He was once known for his heavy partying and was one of cinema's most notorious bad boys. After a quick start where a breakout performance in Joel Schumacher's Tigerland got him enough attention to propel him as a hot commodity, Farrell's star came crashing back to Earth. Movies like Alexander, The New World and even Miami Vice were considered flops. On top of all that, Farrell had a sex tape scandal that captured the world's attention even as it became apparent that his issues with drug and alcohol addiction might keep him from ever ascending to his full potential.
Now, out of rehab and living a quiet life as the father of two sons - one of whom suffers from a neurogenetic disorder called Angelman Syndrome, Farrell's movie choices seem to mirror his personal ones. He returned to film on his own terms as an angst-riddled hitman in the indie flick In Bruges, and even took home a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for his efforts. He followed up that stellar performance (and if you haven't seen it, rent the movie now) with a less showy role in Crazy Heart, where Farrell was third banana to Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal. What would come next? If you guessed that he'd star in an Irish romance about a mermaid (and if you did, I'd like you to call me with the lottery numbers), you're right!
Ondine is the story of Syracuse, an Irish fisherman who discovers a woman in his net whom he believes to be a mermaid or a selkie (a similar creature to a mermaid but of Irish folklore origins). As she begins to become more accepted into the small Irish town, people begin to speculate about her origins, while Syracuse falls for her. His daughter becomes convinced that Ondine is a magical creature. Like so many fairy tales, though, things can take a turn for the dark, and Ondine's story is no exception.
Farrell had to learn an entirely different Irish accent for the movie, but his chemistry with his co-star Alicja Bachleda-Curus is real, as they've been dating since they met during filming of Ondine. The film has inspired a significant amount of discussion as it has already seen release in Ireland and played at some festivals. Modern fairy tales can be a delight when done well, and we're hopeful that Ondine can be such a film. (Kim Hollis/BOP)