I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, most of which will be 90 minutes or less.
Title: Arracht (English title: Monster)
Release Date: 29 November 2019
Director: Tomás Ó Súilleabháin
Production Company: Macalla Teoranta
After enjoying The Quiet Girl, I wanted to find another film in the Irish language for St. Patrick’s Day. This one fit the bill, and as an added bonus the director/writer has the same name as my father.
Set in Connemara, on the west coast of Ireland, the film begins in 1845 as the potato blight is spreading across the land. Colmán Sharkey (Dónall Ó Héalaí) is a fisherman and farmer as well as a community leader. When the English landlord raises rents, he believes he can appeal to his charity to reduce the rents. He’s accompanied by his newly-hired farmhand, a Navy deserter named Patsy (Dara Devaney), who sabotages everything.
Two years later, the Great Hunger has decimated Ireland. Colmán has lost everything including his will to live. But when he finds a sick orphan girl in his farmhouse named Kitty (Saise Ní Chuinn), he nurses her to health and begins acting as a surrogate parent. Unfortunately, incidents in the past that tie them together come back to haunt them.
This a tense drama that really seems to capture the horrors of the Great Hunger. But more than a survival movie it is also a story of how kindness and love can persevere in the hardest of times.
Note: The movie is currently streaming on Prime Video, but I had to search for it by the English title Monster to find it.