Directed by Rebecca Daly. Starring Rachel Griffiths, Barry Keoghan, Michael McElhatton, Nika McGuigan, Joanne Crawford, Johnny Ward.
THE PLOT: Griffith’s loner Margaret is happy to keep her circle of activity between her second-hand clothes shop, her daily dip in the local pool, and being alone in her home. Margaret hardly moves outside of her daily routines, but you feel that she may be silently running from something. And when her ex-husband (McElhatton) turns up with news that the son she abandoned all those years ago has gone missing, the news sparks Margaret into offering her vacant spare room to Joe (Keoghan), a feral teen she recently nursed back to health after finding him passed out and bleeding behind her shop.
Soon, these two losts souls are swimming ever closer to one another…
THE VERDICT: Irish filmmaker Rebecca Daly enjoys exploring the spaces inbetween, those moments where nothing is said, and everything is revealed.
It was there in her 2011 feature debut, ‘The Other Side Of Sleep’, Antonia Campbell-Hughes sleepwalking through her life as she struggled with loss in a small midlands town. And it’s there in Daly’s second feature, ‘Mammal’.
A hit on the festival circuit since debuting at Sundance last year, and co-written by Daly once again with Glenn Montgomery, Mammal is a film that offers no crashes or bangs, and only a handful of wallops (well, it is an Irish film, after all). Largely a two-hander, with some fiery support from the mighty McElhatton, the kick here is ‘Mammal”s subtlety.
Review by Paul Byrne