EIFF 2022: It Is in Us All
It Is in Us All offers a dark atmosphere that's well constructed, but its inconsistent narrative keeps the film from being an engaging experience
It Is in Us All, the directorial debut from Irish actor Antonia Campbell-Hughes, is a slow-burn. The indie drama follows Hamish (Cosmo Jarvis), a businessman who gets into a serious car crash just after arriving at his late mother’s hometown in Ireland, where his aunt has left a house to him in her will. This tragic incident, in which one teenager dies and another survives, serves as an excuse to delve into the protagonist’s past traumas and explore oppressive toxic masculinity in which men are often trapped in order to fit into society’s traditional conventions of what a man is supposed to be.
Campbell-Hughes focuses mainly on creating an eerie and suspenseful atmosphere that, unfortunately, relies too much on indie arthouse clichés (little dialogue, long takes, unexpected music scenes) rather than elaborating a consistent script. The intentionally subtle narrative and morose cadence don't help to give the film the intended intensity it seems to look for, making it difficult to engage with the main characters and the strange, homoerotic relationship that grows between them as Hamish befriends the boy that survives the accident.
Although It Is in Us All attempts to tackle interesting subjects – masculinity, grief, death – and offers a convincing lead performance from Cosmo Jarvis, the script fails to convey the emotional connection the mise-en-scène is trying so hard to achieve. It would have benefited from stronger dialogue, greater explicitness when building its characters and less formulaic auteur film tropes.
It Is in Us All screens as part of Edinburgh International Film Festival; Everyman, 15 Aug, 6.30pm; Filmhouse, 16 Aug, 12pm; tickets at edfilmfest.org.uk
Released 23 Sep by Blue Finch