Don’t Go: A remake of Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now, set in the west of Ireland

Review: After their child dies, a couple have visions suggesting the infant may still be nearby

Film Title: Don't Go

Director: David Gleeson

Starring: Stephen Dorff, Melissa George, Aoibhinn McGinnity, Simon Delaney, Charlotte Bradley, Luke Griffin

Genre: Drama

Running Time: 91 min

Thu, Apr 11, 2019, 06:00

   

After only a few words of synopsis, the half-bright reader will spot what influences are at work here. Following the death of their child, an attractive couple relocate to a picturesque maritime location where they encounter visions that suggest the infant may still be nearby. It’s Don’t Look Now. There’s another hint right there in the title. 

Stephen Dorff plays Ben, an American author who inexplicably finds himself teaching English in the West of Ireland. Melissa George, keen on making a hotel of their new home, is initially long-suffering as his wife Hazel.

A lot goes on, but the film never attains the spooky resonance of Nicolas Roeg’s indestructible classic. The supernatural bits looks like late, bad Terrence Malick translated via Chinese whispers into middle-brow festival fodder.

The everyday stuff has a whiff of those 1990s peat briquette commercials that Bord na Móna commissioned when they were desperately trying to appeal to young people. Rural, but not frighteningly so. Glamorous, but still cosy.

We have a few questions. Some the film means us to ask. Others are all our own.

What are all those crows up to?

Don’t Go: The picture is, however, stranded throughout in a mid-budget, mid-genre Nowhere.
Don’t Go: The picture is, however, stranded throughout in a mid-budget, mid-genre Nowhere.
Don’t Go: The everyday stuff has a whiff of those 1990s peat briquette commercials that Bord na Móna commissioned when they were desperately trying to appeal to young people.
Don’t Go: The everyday stuff has a whiff of those 1990s peat briquette commercials that Bord na Móna commissioned when they were desperately trying to appeal to young people.

Why does Ben keep seeing the words “Seas [sic] the Day” spelt out in the least likely places?

Why do people think that “The Reality Delusion”, the title of his one under-discussed book, is worthy of anything other than a cynical snort?

Why does their house look no more like a hotel at the end of the film than at the beginning? What are all those crows still up to?

Limerick man David Gleeson, who directed two solid Irish films in the first decade of this century, handles all this with a brisk competence that almost compensates for a screenplay – co-written with Ronan Blaney – that initially tends towards enigma before wrapping up its loose ends a little too neatly.

A popular character actor offers good comic relief as a bluff, breezy priest so much in that performer’s wheelhouse that he may as well have been called Father Simon Delaney. The two stars do their best.

The picture is, however, stranded throughout in a mid-budget, mid-genre Nowhere that will cause more furrowed brows than icy shudders. The temptation to suggest the title could stand as a review is close to overwhelming, but Don’t Go deserves a little better than that. 

So we won’t. 

Opens on April 12th