I Could Read The Sky Review

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Adapted from Timothy O'Grady and Steve Pyke's photographic novel, centring on an aged and reclusive Irish immigrant (played by Dermot Healy) looking back over his existence, it moves from his childhood on the west coast of Ireland through a life of moving from job to job in England.


Demonstrating a visual imagination and a technical mastery that would be the envy of many a pampered Hollywood pictorialist, Nichola Bruce's feature debut is a poetic reverie on the life of an itinerant exile. Huddled in his London bedsit, Dermot Healy recalls both his West Coast childhood and the missed opportunities of his British sojourn, with a clarity and emotive control that threatens to overshadow the cameos of Rea and Kennedy.

More impressive still is Bruce's use of morphing and superimposition to achieve the elliptical, abstract evocation of the narrator's memory. With its atmospheric music, lyrical text and ever-shifting visuals, this adaptation of Timothy O'Grady and Steve Pyke's photo-novel proves that special effects can have an artistic, as well as a visceral, value. That said it does suffer a slight case of being being arty for the sake of it - which of course is no great crime, but gets a touch wearing.

Beyond the slight air of pretension, there's an intersting performance from Healy, and the stream of images Bruce produces is quite staggering givent the debut feature status.