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Into the west DVD


Into the west DVD

The film is half fantasy with elements of ancient Irish legend (the white horse from Tir na n'Og, the Land of Eternal Youth), half gritty realism with the two young boys, neglected by their widowed and depressed alcoholic father (Gabriel Byrne). When their grandfather (the late and great David Kelly) finds a mysterious magical white horse, he gives it to the boys, the younger of whom immediately bonds with it. Having nowhere else to keep the animal, they bring it into their tower block apartment. When the horse is taken from them by the authorities, they set off to find it. And once they do, it brings them on a perilous journey westward across all of Ireland to the ocean, where, beyond the white surf, there is Tir na n'Og, that place where you can find the souls of the dead, and where the young boy Ossie longs to meet his long dead mother whom he never knew.

The film is directed by Mike Newell (it's his next one after Enchanted April and last one before Four Weddings and a Funeral), who found a very happy medium between fantasy and realism, and managed to make this a modern Irish classic, beloved by adults and children alike. The cast is stellar, with appearances of Irelands finest actors: Gabriel Byrne, David Kelly, Colm Meaney, a young Brendan Gleeson and Liam Cunningham in his first ever screen appearance. Ellen Barkin (then wife of Gabriel Byrne), though not Irish, gives a convincing performance as Irish gypsy rose. However, the real stars of the film are the two young boys. Both of them are simply outstanding. Two of the best child performances I can think of. Well, they and the horse. Obviously.

Those not already familiar with the film should be warned that the story is quite dark and that some scenes may not be suitable for young or sensitive children. It is emphatically not the kind of "happy-children-and-their-little-pony" film Disney studios might produce. Watch it with your children, or, if concerned about the suitability for your children, watch it yourself first, then decide. It's an absolutely wonderful film, but maybe not one for everybody. Personally, I love it. One of my all time favourites.


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