From the director of Interview with the Vampire, The Good Thief and The Crying Game comes Ondine, an adult twist on the classic mermaid tale. Colin Farrell and Alicja Bachleda star in this surprisingly seductive tale.
Ondine stars Farrell as Syracuse, a down-on-his-luck fisherman who pulls a beautiful woman named Ondine (Bachleda) from the ocean. Not wanting to be seen by others, Syracuse takes her home where his daughter immediately suspects that she's a mermaid. Though skeptical at first, Syracuse begins to suspect that she is one as well... but the truth may be darker than any of them suspect.
Farrell turns in a fine performance, but it's Neil Jordan's direction that elevates the film. Ondine is beautiful from start to finish, and more importantly transfixing. Combined with the score and the Irish setting, the picture feels like a fairy tale, but one that is squarely set in the real world (or so it seems). There's a weariness to the colors utilized throughout that gives the movie a dream-like quality, too.
Jordan's screenplay is just as good as his direction; the characters are simple but well developed, interesting and compelling without being overly dramatized or fatally flawed.
As good as the movie is, its lack of flair is both beneficial and detrimental. Its tranquil mood is intoxicating and alluring, but once the movie is over, it slowly fades for memory like a pleasant dream.
Ondine isn't without its flaws, but the beautiful scenery and direction coupled with a strong screenplay make it well worth the price of admission.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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