THE SECRET SCRIPTURE

Cert 12A 108mins Stars 2

Irish writer-director Jim Sheridan has previously delivered great work, such as the socially aware dramas, My Left Foot and In the Name of the Father.

Sadly this overwrought production is a muddled affair, with elements of gothic horror, mystery drama, and wartime romance, all jostling to dominate.

Eric Bana’s dashing doctor has been summoned to assess Rose McNulty. Accused of killing her baby, the fragile widow has since been held in a mental asylum for forty years. As the narrative flits between then and now, a personalised bible holds clues to the truth.

There’s no shortage of impassioned performances, with Vanessa Redgrave and Rooney Mara play the old and young versions of Rose.

But Sheridan’s cynicism at small town hypocrisy, punitive Irish republicanism and the brutal church, all sit uneasily with a deep lying sentimentality.

An oppressive score leaves no room for subtlety, and the script contains no secret worthy of the name.

 

 

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