Eye For Film >> Movies >> Enys Men (2022) Film Review
Reviewed by: Richard Mowe
Steeped in atmosphere and the wild crashing sea around the Cornish coast, Mark Jenkin delivers a kind of folk supernatural horror tale delving into local historical myths.
After his previous debut feature Bait, which was made on a minuscule budget, Jenkin has a bit more cash to play around with but not much.
The title refers to the name of a wild and ravaged island off the mainland - Enys means stone and men (pronounced main in Cornish) stands for island.
It’s practically one person show for actress Mary Woodbine, who has been sent there to document rare plants which also have historical resonances.
It is shot on deliberately grainy 16mm film (Jenkin is also editor and hand processes much of his own footage) giving it a feel of a home movie with a distinctive and hypnotic soundtrack, which reveals the deserted island’s past as a mining and sea-faring community.
The woman is the only inhabitant, who goes about her daily chores with a quiet determination - firing up her petrol generator, throwing a stone into the brooding well of a tin mine at the foot of a crumbling stone outlook tower. Then she discovers that the flowers she is growing start to sprout lichens.
It’s set in 1973 and with the May Day approaching when offerings are said to be made, temptation beckons, and time begins to collapse.
It has a [film iid=11653]Wicker Man[/film] feel but without the flamboyant histrionics and leaves much of the narrative unexplained. This only heightens the growing grip of the curiosity Jenkin exerts.Reviewed on: 23 May 2022