Tales of regret and paying the price for the deadly consequences of those actions taken in haste have graced cinema screens since the inception of motion pictures. We all have regrets and often we’re avoiding, if not running from, something or someone. Something about our roots always seems to pull us back eventually, especially when we’re in need of help. These are the two factors at play in Iona’s (Ruth Negga) life, the titular character in Scott Graham’s second film.
Iona returns to the holy island with her teenage son Bull (Ben Gallagher) after fleeing a violent incident on the mainland. She seeks refuge with Daniel (Douglas Henshaw) in the house where she spent her teenage years after her mother died. His daughter Elizabeth (Michelle Duncan), her childhood friend, is far from enthused about Iona’s sudden reappearance. Bull makes friends with her husband (Tom Brooke) and their teen daughter (Sorcha Groundsell), but something unsaid stands between them an happiness.
The star of Iona is undoubtedly the beautiful island itself. The story is mostly left untold with an air of mystery which hangs like a pall over all the characters. Unfortunately, the intrigue can only take it so far and there’s very little beneath to hold your interest. There are decent performances but without the necessary substance it just ends up floundering to an obvious anti-climax. Iona isn’t quite the film we expected after Graham’s impressive début Shell but for all the flaws it’s still an interesting meditation on regret.
Iona is out in cinemas on Friday.