Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Review: The Secret of Roan Inish

Just before, during and since my trip to Scotland the Selkie myth has been brought to my attention on several occasions. There was a book, mention of them by various people and while searching for a film to watch, having viewed "Ondine", I stumbled across "The Secret of Roan Inish" on Amazon.

I perused the description of the movie at Amazon, a single line that offered little in the way of what to expect. One Australian reviewer, Brian Barratt, revealed the whole movie without offering a spoiler alert, though he did proffer further information on the myths and legends associated with selkies and seals. Despite knowing the complete storyline, I ordered the DVD; it was going cheap.

Arriving home from work in the early hours of the morning, with nothing on the box, I began to watch the movie. I must say the beginning was a little confusing, but I soon caught on. The movie isn't fast paced and is probably aimed at children, nonetheless I enjoyed it. Even though I knew "the secret", I was still entranced by the tale and found myself becoming anxious as to how the story would resolve; I was glued to the screen.

The story centres on a girl called Fiona, who is sent to her grandparents' house in Donnegal to escape the city in which her father now lives. The proximity of her grandparents' house to the island of her family's origin, Roan Inish, causes the girl to ponder the fate of her infant brother, Jimmy, now mourned by his family. With the help of her sympathetic cousin, Eamon and some more distant, dark relatives, Fiona uncovers the truth about her island origins; and the truth is stranger than myth.

A fantastical, magical tale which slowly unwinds.

I recommend this DVD/film to anyone interested in selkies and celtic tales of wonder.

Rating: 4/5.