The Eternal Daughter12¦ Blu-ray
Tilda Swinton always appears to be in high demand, which is no surprise when you consider what she often brings to a role. The British actress has a remarkable track record with working with a diverse range of directors, from her debut in Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio, she has been directed by Sally Potter, Danny Boyle, Spike Jonze, Jim Jarmusch, the Coen brothers, David Fincher, Bong Joon-ho, Judd Apatow and Wes Anderson to name but a few.
And is so often the case, as it is here, she works with such talent on a number of occasions, with this being the third full feature for British director Joanna Hogg, who decided that one role for Swinton in her film just wasn’t enough.
Arriving at a quaint old hotel in the Welsh countryside is Julie (Swinton) and her elderly mother Rosalind (Swinton). It’s a curious place, with what appears to be only a skeleton crew running it, and although the pair struggle to get the room they booked, there are no sight of any other guests staying.
Still, they don’t let it put them off, as Julie has brought her there for two reasons: the first is to celebrate her mother’s upcoming birthday, and the second is because her mother actually lived in the house for a bit, as it was a family home.
But although her daughter had the best of intentions, staying at the house stirs memories from her mother’s past that were better off being left alone.
Hogg has to go some way to make up for the dull spectacle that were The Souvenir parts 1 & 2, but doesn’t quite manage it with this.
The whole look and feel of it pays homage to British horror films of the seventies, just with less nudity.
Having to play two roles was the obvious appeal for Swinton, as it would no doubt appease both her create lust and ego, but the story is yet again dull. The director does add a new ingredient this time around however, by having it also predictable. So much so that if you haven’t worked out where it’s leading by the first half hour, you should be well and truly ashamed of yourself. And it’s difficult to see how you could miss it, considering the visual clues that Hogg whacks the audience with constantly.
And yet despite its many faults, Hogg once again managed to secure none other than Martin Scorsese as an executive producer, who was probably lured by its retro leanings into British cinema, being that he’s such a fan of it.
There may well be two of Swinton, which on paper at least would be no bad thing, but the reality is the way her two roles are shot from a technical point of view, comes across as embarrassingly amateurish, even though there’s a strong argument to suggest that was a deliberate action by the director, which if is the case, is one that just didn’t pay off.
One highlight has to be given to Louis the dog, who without doubt gives the most authentic performance, and completely deserves his high billing in the credits.
There’s no denying that Hogg creates an intriguing atmosphere, reminiscent of a traditional horror story told around Christmas time, but unfortunately its path is blatantly visible for all to see from the off, leaving you with a finale that doesn’t have a ghost of a chance of succeeding.