(1992, Ire, 91 min) Dir Fintan O’Driscoll. Cast Stephen Rea, Colm Meaney.
Bluff, bolshie Pat (Rea) and quiet, thoughtful Michael (Meaney) are peat cutters in the West of Ireland beginning another day’s shift in the bleak midwinter morning, the uniformity of the grey sky overhead mirrored by the open vastness of the bog around them. Their day is only just begun when Michael turns over a sod to find the leathered face of a long dead bog person within. As there’s nothing they can do with the body until they’re picked up at the end of their shift they leave it in the ground where they found it and go back to their work. Pat laughs off their find but Michael seems shaken by it and takes to speculating about it. Then he starts to talk about a figure, just on the horizon, that Pat can’t see and Pat can’t laugh that off. A spooky little number that gives away little and uses its location, which is like a blasted void or like limbo, to its fullest with director O’Driscoll – who is best known in the theatre – showing a knack for image making alongside his expected strengths with the actors. It’s refreshing to see both leads playing against type too, apparently as a result of a last-minute switch the week before shoot started.