One Hundred Mornings

One Hundred Mornings

***1/2

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Since the mid-Seventies cinemas have been full of survival movies. Whatever has brought about the end of civilisation - zombies, nuclear war, escalating petrol prices - what really draws people to these films is the same. It's a pretty fundamental question: could I survive without? Well, could you? Dispensing with the frills, One Hundred Mornings takes a look at two couples in an Irish farmhouse who are trying to do just that, and it's grim viewing.

In this instance, nobody discusses how things have broken down. We come to understand that at some point the electricity just cut out; other services stopped being provided and there was nothing on the television or radio. It's that simple. Nobody else seems to know what's going on either - not the increasingly hostile villagers, not self-sufficient neighbour Tim, and not the garda, for all that they attempt to keep order for a while. Most probably, people tell each other, this will be over soon. It's just a matter of being patient and making do. Food supplies can be rationed (though, of course, they can also be stolen). Mark (Rory Keenan) is quite good at practical things. David (CiarĂ¡n McMenamin) is, by his own admission, better at the multimedia side of things.

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A bitterly realistic look at four individuals ill-equipped to last a month without a supermarket, One Hundred Mornings pulls no punches. It is occasionally sensationalist and a little too anxious to keep providing us with action when a slower pace might have served it better, but solid performances carry it along nonetheless. Despite the frustration of watching these people go hungry in a landscape full of fish, birds, roots, nuts, wild vegetables, fowl and game, one doesn't feel annoyed with them. They're too ordinary, their plight too prosaic. They're not stupid, just uneducated, or educated only in ways that have now become worthless. It's easy to believe that in a situation like this there would be millions like them. No zombies required.

Though it might simply be too depressing for the average cinema audience, this is a solid drama that showcases some of the best assets of contemporary Irish filmmaking. It's reminiscent of the better work of the BBC back in the Seventies and succeeds most impressively when concentrating on simple storytelling. It'll certainly leave you with something to think about.

Reviewed on: 21 Feb 2011
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The quiet, unsensational end of civilisation leaves two couples in an increasingly desperate, claustrophobic situation as their supplies dwindle and they are threatened by other survivors.
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Director: Conor Horgan

Writer: Conor Horgan

Starring: Ciarán McMenamin, Alex Reid, Rory Keenan

Year: 2009

Runtime: 83 minutes

Country: Ireland

Festivals:

Glasgow 2011

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