PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
The Eclipse (2009)

The Eclipse (2009)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Dec-2010

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Featurette-Making Of-Making of The Eclipse (27.32)
Featurette-HD Net: A Look at The Eclipse (4.37)
Theatrical Trailer-(2.14)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 84:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Conor McPherson

Madman Entertainment
Starring Billy Roche
Eanna Hardwicke
Hannah Lynch
Ciarán Hinds
Avian Egan
Aidan Quinn
Hilary O'Shaughnessy
Jim Norton
Nuala Casey De Backer
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Fionnuala Ní Chiosáin

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.00:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Every year the small Irish town of Cobh hosts an international literary festival attracting guest speaking novelists and poets from around the world. Local woodwork teacher and once aspiring writer Michael Farr (Ciarán Hinds) is a volunteer meet-and-greet person who is assigned to pick up two literary figures and see them to their lodgings. That doesn't work out so well. Best selling writer and Festival drawcard Nicholas Holden (Aidan Quinn) chastises Michael for being late to pick him up. He completely misses supernatural writer Lena Morelle (Iben Hjejle) and turns up at her lodgings with a gift basket, giving her a mighty shock as she comes out of the bathroom to see a man in the house! There is a good reason for Michael’s distraction. Well two reasons actually. He has only recently lost his wife to cancer and Michael still hasn't really dealt with the loss. He is a good father and cares for his young son and daughter but is struggling to make peace with himself. Secondly, he keeps getting increasingly scary and violent night visitations from some spectral force.

     Michael is drawn to the supernatural expert Lena and the two begin a cautious friendship which might just lead to a relationship. The fly in the ointment is Nicholas who has arranged for Lena to be at the festival to rekindle an affair the two had the previous year. Lena is not sure she wants to go there. After all, Nicholas told her that he was separated from his wife, which is definitely not true, despite his protestations that the two were "never more separated" than the night he and Lena hooked up! With Lena's help Michael tries to get to the bottom of the haunting. Is it his recently departed wife or her aged and miserable father who is at deaths door? Can there be a haunting if the ghost isn't dead yet? Will the relationship between Michael and Lena develop beyond the friendly?

     The Eclipse (also the title of Lena's book) was directed by Irish playwright and sometime filmmaker Conor McPherson. The delicate screenplay was written by McPherson and Billy Roche and was based on Tales from Rainwater Pond by Roche (who also turns up in a small role in the film). Theatre fans may recall the visit in 2000 to these shores by The Royal Court Theatre performing The Weir. Like The Eclipse that play featured a particularly Irish form of supernatural - one that emanates almost from the earth as if Ireland was the joining place between this world and the afterlife.

     The Eclipse is not exactly a horror film although it has some spooky "jump high" moments. It is more of a drama of a romance between a couple of lost souls tempered by comedy and laced with scares.Hinds is a fine actor often cast as mobsters or hard men (last seen to great effect in There Will Be Blood). Here he relishes the opportunity to play the small town woodwork teacher and he brings great humanity to the role. Hjejle, who many might remember from High Fidelity, is also strong as the lonely writer and Aiden Quinn has great fun playing the total ass Nicholas, veering from arrogance to self pity on one glass of scotch.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


     The Eclipse was shot on the RED Digital Camera, apparently at a 4K resolution. The result is a film that looks extremely good - sharp and crisp in the image quality whilst still conveying a filmic look. The colours are strong and clear although it must be said that the beautiful Irish town of Cobh is usually beneath cloud cover and looking a little grim. The colours are accurate but the overall tone is somewhat gloomy in keeping with the supernatural themes. The film is a showcase for the excellent cinematography of Ivan McCollough.

     As to the aspect ratio it appears that there are a few versions of this film around. The film (on Blu-ray) has been variously described as having a 2.35:1 or 2.00:1 aspect ratio. Anything is possible with the digital image from the RED camera. This version is a 16x9 enhanced 1.78:1. Having compared screenshots from the film with those kindly posted by the DVD Beaver site it is clear that there has been some minor cropping from each side of the image. Not having seen the other versions it is difficult to know whether this has affected the quality of the movie itself. I have therefore deducted half a point only. Otherwise there are no real flaws in the image quality. I noticed the slightest aliasing but this is a commendable transfer.

     There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired which give a good account of on-screen action.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The Eclipse comes with two English Dolby Digital tracks. One is a 5.1 running at 448Kb/s and the other a 2.0 track running at 224Kb/s. Both are acceptable. The benefit of the 5.1 track is in the ambience of the Irish surroundings. There is a lot of ambient noise in this film - seabirds squawking, waves pounding, bells ringing. The surround track gives a nice spatial sense. The sub-woofer only occasionally gets a workout , principally for a few thunderclaps but mostly for the jumpy-scary moments. They are very effective.

     The music is by the director’s partner Fionnuala Ní Chiosáin and mixes some wistful piano music (strangely similar to the Spirited Away music) and some choral pieces which are quite effective, not to mention the scratchy scary music that builds to a crescendo.

     The dialogue can be heard clearly although Michael is something of a mumbler. The actors are in audio sync.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     There are three extras for the film.

The Making of Eclipse

     This is a mixed blessing. At heart it is an EPK designed to promote the greatness of the film. However, the length of it means that we are able to get a little closer to the characters and the film. Staring from the point of asking key actors and crew to explain "what’s the film about", it does manage to get deeper into the production side of things. Not only do we meet the production designer but also the costume lady. Unfortunately there are no real on-set insights and a little too much time is spent asking actors to explain their characters. Still, these actors and this crew probably don't get to do a lot of interviews.

HD Net: A Look at Eclipse

     If the earlier feature seemed a little lightweight then this one is strictly fairy floss - too brief to be of much use. Ciaran Hinds is the real focus of this short extra.

Theatrical Trailer

     The trailer for the film.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     I have not been able to source information on the quality of the DVD versions of this film from other Regions. Real fans, however, will probably want to pick up the Blu-ray with its improved visuals and sound. The extras are, however, the same.


     Those who like their romances light and fluffy or their horror films strewn with dismembered corpses will find little to like in The Eclipse, for it avoids any clear entry into either the romance or horror category. Perhaps it is best seen as a supernatural mystery within a love story. Either way it is a different and refreshing film that deserves a wider audience.

     The DVD is good looking and sounding and the extras are fairly lengthy if a bit lightweight.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

Other Reviews NONE