The desolate countryside of Ireland makes for an uninviting setting in writer / director Antonia Campbell-Hughes‘ “It Is In Us All,” a slow, brooding film about masculinity, rage, and wounds both physical and emotional. This is a beautifully crafted first feature that’s compelling (to a point), but watching it feels more like homework than an entertaining escape.
Hamish (Cosmo Jarvis) is a man who wants to be the best, always living in the shadow of his successful and domineering father. He returns to his dead mother’s homeland and begins to feel a spark of what remains of the nurturing instinct which he seeks. While out for a drive, Hamish’s world is rocked when he is involved in a deadly car accident. It’s when he is befriended by a teenager named Evan (Rhys Mannion), who was also involved in the crash, that Hamish begins to let go. Discovering a sensual connection between himself and the boy, Hamish begins to embrace the danger and violence that stems from his inner rage and unbridled desires. As he explores these complex emotions that have been triggered by the sudden trauma and a lifetime of regret, the man struggles with coming to terms with his own existence.
While the premise may sound profound and the themes deep, there actually isn’t much to dissect below the surface. Campbell-Hughes’ film is all about the atmosphere and pondering the cultural influence of masculinity. It’s a psychological drama that’s a draggy and moody slow burn.
The storytelling keeps the audience at a distance, which results in a narrative that’s too restrained. There’s a slight aloofness to this film that lends an unpleasantness that not many will choose to endure. This is made worse by the lonely rural setting that exudes disconnection, to the point that the landscape becomes the most interesting character in the film.
“It Is In Us All” is filled with stunning visuals and is beautifully directed and acted, but its vagueness proves to be more frustrating than philosophical.