Star Rating:

It Is In Us All

Director: Antonia Campbell-Hughes

Actors: Cosmo Jarvis, Antonia Campbell-Hughes

Release Date: Friday 23rd September 2022

Genre(s): Drama

Running time: 92 minutes

Arrogant businessman Hamish Considine (Cosmo Jarvis) returns to his native Donegal following his mother's passing to settle her affairs and take ownership of an idyllic home. However, on his arrival, he is almost killed in a car crash that claims a young man. In the aftermath, he becomes drawn to one of its survivors (Rhys Mannion) and begins to question his life and his relationship with his mother through his father (Claes Bang).

Arthouse drama, particularly Irish arthouse drama, always has an intense vortex effect where it takes in all aspects of our consciousness, from being a post-colonial nation to the stifling of sexuality from years of religious repression. 'It Is In Us All' grapples with all of this, with a game cast and a debut director who has much to say and has an intensity to go after it.

The nearest comparison you could give to something like 'It Is In Us All' is somewhere touching upon David Cronenberg's 'Crash', though here the body horror and the sexuality are covert rather than overt, making it all the more potent. Cosmo Jarvis' willingness to go to dark, brooding places and be completely committed to capturing the vulnerability is thrilling. Although it was clearly a COVID production, the isolation and self-flagellation that his character endures have a weight to it. Likewise, the supporting cast of Rhys Mannion and particularly Antonia Campbell-Hughes as the mother of the deceased in the car crash make their mark on the story and the atmosphere.

In her debut directorial effort, Antonia Campbell-Hughes displays a real understanding of visual language as it relates to atmosphere, particularly in how the wide open spaces of the North can feel hollowing in one scene, but serene and magnificent in the next. It's the same with the house where Cosmo Jarvis' character isolates himself. In the beginning, it's cold and sparse but by the end, it begins to feel like someone lives there and that it has a warmth and humanity to it, just as he begins to reconnect with himself and the world around him. Campbell-Hughes has all of this in hand, but it's the script and story that feels lacking. There's a sparseness to it that's in keeping with its arthouse sensibility, but its ending just feels too prosaic and straightforward for what comes before it.

By turns fascinating and disturbing, compelling and unsettling, 'It Is In Us All' is a superior arthouse drama.