Beyond The Fire (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner17/06/2009

One out of Five stars
Running time: 77 mins

Dreary, underwritten and largely unconvincing drama that fails to exert an emotional grip, despite good work from Cara Seymour.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Maeve Murphy, Beyond The Fire stars Scot Williams as Sheamy (short for Seamus), an ex-priest who gets out of jail and returns to London in search of his old mentor, Father Brendan (Hugh Sachs). While staying with a distant relative, Sheamy finds himself instantly attracted to a woman called Katie (Cara Seymour) when they meet at a gig.

However, when their first night together goes horribly wrong, the pair open up to each other and it transpires that Katie is still recovering from being raped a year ago, while Sheamy confesses he's a virgin and also hints that he was abused by Father Brendan. Agreeing to take things slow, Katie and Sheamy attempt to move their relationship forward, but can either of them escape their past demons?

The Good
Considering the ultra-low budget (the film's shot entirely on HD), the film actually looks pretty good, with Murphy creating a sense of intimacy between the two leads through controlled use of space and tight close-ups. Similarly, Cara Seymour delivers a performance that's probably better than the film deserves, mixing painful vulnerability with a sense of excitement at her re-emerging sexuality.

The Bad
The problem is that the film completely fails to convince on an emotional level; for example, it's impossible to believe that Katie would trust this complete stranger (a jailbird, no less) so quickly, given the trauma she's still dealing with. In addition, when the truth finally comes out about why Sheamy was in prison, it's so laughably stupid that it renders the film ridiculous.

On top of that, Scot Williams is a pretty terrible actor – he's clearly put the work in with the Irish accent, but the result is he delivers every line in the same shouty Irish drawl.

Worth seeing?
Despite a strong performance from Cara Seymour, Beyond The Fire fails to convince on an emotional level, thanks to a clumsy script and some bad acting from Scot Williams.

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Content updated: 21/07/2018 20:23

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