Iona (★★★ Empire Review)

ionasquareAfter a traumatic incident on the mainland, Iona (Ruth Negga) returns to her Scottish island namesake with her 15-year-old son in tow., hoping to come to terms with her past. Instead, her visit re-opens old wounds, threatening the God-fearing tranquility of the close island community.

Fleeing from a traumatic, tragic incident on the mainland, struggling single mother Iona (Negga) returns to her rugged Hebridean island birthplace (and namesake), with her 15-year-old son in tow, in Scott Graham’s follow-up to his extraordinary debut, Shell (2012). Undercurrents of unresolved issues abound in a story told in unspoken words, meaningful glances and innuendo – with the occasional feel of a sixth form drama class. A dry-stone wall built by two of the characters provides a potent symbol of the islanders’ awkward relationships, and of the film itself: the pieces are there, but the connective tissue is missing. Somehow, it holds together.


Scott Graham’s follow-up to Shell is as remote, bleak and unforgiving as its Scottish island setting, with the same naturalistic performances and stunning cinematography as his debut, but less of the raw storytelling power. ★★★


About David Hughes: Published Work

Empire and Time Out film critic, screenwriter of award-winning drama "Where the Road Runs Out", and MD of movie marketing agency Synchronicity, and author of books about Kubrick, Lynch and films that were never made.

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