Written and directed by Lochlainn McKenna, this short film asks questions about what we are willing to overlook in order to maintain a relationship with someone who is close to us.

This Oscar qualifying film based on Lochlainn McKenna’s childhood and weekends he spent with his father, is a moving and poignant take on a father and son relationship which while is filled with joyful memories, also filled with moments of neglect and pain that leaves the viewer with questions as to how to maintain a relationship with someone when they cause you pain and neglect.

Taking place across a weekend in 1990’s Ireland, the premise for the film sees Father Hugh (Steve Wall) and his son, Oscar (Ewan Morris) embarking on a tip together that sees them camping and making memories together. However, things take a slightly darker turn when they stop at a pub and Hugh has a few more drinks then he should – can the weekend be salvaged or will Oscar reveal all to his mother?

At just 18 minutes long, this shot film cleverly and concisely sets up the story and the characters beautifully, drawing the audience into the relationship between father and son from the very first scene. The chemistry between Wall and Morris builds on this further, both providing very nuanced performances that keep the story unfolding very much grounded.

The use of close up shots of them together or individually allows us to really see the depth of emotion and bond between the pair, although the moment in which we see Oscar having to help his father back to the tent after hours at the pub is equally powerful and packs a punch straight to the heart.

McKenna has created a sensitive and understated film that also manages to capture the beauty of Ireland in every shot. The wild and beautiful surroundings, provide the perfect backdrop of the uncertainty of Oscar’s feelings about his father, particularly towards the end – a combination of love but also weariness at being exposed to Hugh’s failures as a parent. Director of photography Eoin McLoughlin gives the whole film a gritty cinematography that enhances the darker aspects of the story really well, which combined with Joe Robbins’s delicate compositions give the story a haunting atmosphere.

Tonally, there are the occasional moments which feel as though it feels a little bit uncertain which way it wants to take, but soon settles into something that is engaging and consistently confident. It leaves you wondering what happened to them both next and that is an impressive thing to achieve in a film that is just under 20 minutes long.

By Emma Clarendon

Two For The Road will be showcased at the Cork Film Fest from November 9th -26th.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


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