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'Ondine' sort of a realistic fairytale

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POSTED: October 29, 2010 11:57 a.m.
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Colin Farrell and Alicja Bachleda star in "Ondine."

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Once upon a time there lived a lowly Irish fisherman by the name of Syracuse. His dreary days were spent alone on a grimy little boat fruitlessly trawling for fish and for lobster until one fateful day when he snared a beautiful woman in his net.
This is the plot of “Ondine,” which sounds very much like a fairytale, until you add the setting, which is current day, and some of the character details, such as his daughter Annie’s confinement to a wheelchair.
Syracuse decides to keep Ondine, the woman he fishes from the sea, at his old cottage, like a secret pet. When his daughter discovers her, she suggests Ondine is a selkie: a mythological creature who starts as a seal but can shed her skin to become a beautiful woman.
The part of Syracuse is played by Dublin-born Colin Farrell. Farrell enjoyed the heat of Hollywood’s spotlight in 2003, but his career seemed to decline afterward. In 2007 he shared the screen with Ewan McGregor and Tom Wilkinson in the Woody Allen thriller “Cassandra’s Dream,” a movie I loved and one that reminded me of the actor’s appeal.
In fact, I’ve found that I enjoy Farrell’s work even more now that he has a subdued media footprint. You might have missed him in the casts of “Pride and Glory” and “Crazy Heart,” but those small roles were somewhat brilliant.
How does “Ondine” measure up? Farrell is great in the film, which ends up being a real-life story about how, when things get dire, we wish we could live a fairy tale instead. The actor and his chemistry with his co-star are the film’s high points.
I’m glad I saw “Ondine,” which is available on DVD and digital download, but it is slow and there isn’t as much of an emotional climax as I wanted. I don’t think I’ll recommend it to many people.
And because of those weaknesses, I’m afraid I’ve got to say, I’m not a fan.

 

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