'Ill Fares The Land' is a brilliant fantasy tale where reality and fantasy collide
Patrick Ireland’s Ill Fares The Land is a brilliant, heartbreaking fantasy tale which places us into a world where reality and fantasy collide in a small oceanside town. Noah Silverstone flawlessly plays the character of George, a young boy who hasn’t spoken since his mother died two years ago. Surrounded by an abusive father and a protective right winged radical brother named Trey, George finds himself in the middle of the ‘migrant crisis’ and a mermaid in need of help.
Silverstone and Ruaridh Aldington, who plays Trey, are superb in their scenes together and we genuinely feel their love for each other amidst their fear and growing hate for migrants. The rest of the cast including Thomas Devlin as Stewy and Smilla Erlandson as the Mermaid fit perfectly into Ireland’s clear vision of George’s world spinning out of control and escalating into a final climactic breakdown.
A beautiful haunting score by Magdalena Maria Herfurtner along with the skillful and moody compositions by cinematographer Stephen Roach provide us with memorable moments long after the film has ended. Editor Michael Pentney delivers a perfect balance of subtle transitions and striking flashbacks, which at times give us the feeling of being catapulted right inside George’s mind.
Writer and director Patrick Ireland transcends beyond being an accomplished filmmaker in this ambitious fantasy drama told through the eyes of a young boy. Ireland’s powerful visual style in storytelling makes his philosophical statement about our own humanity in this world and the price we pay by ignoring it that much more profound.