In a brief introduction to a screening of his first feature film at the Irish Film Institute, Conor Horgan said that rather than write about what he knows for his first feature, he chose to write about what scares him. The vision he chose to put up on screen, of an Ireland broken by a complete societal break-down, is indeed quite scary.
The film centres around two couples waiting out the aftermath of some unspecified major event in a remote rural cabin. We’re given no information as to what has occurred, but the local village has been sealed off and barricaded, the two remaining Gardai in the town seem to have taken the law into their own hands, supplies are running low and no-one trusts anyone else. The couples, Jonathan and Hannah (Ciaran McMenamin and Alex Reid) and Mark and Katie (Rory Keenan and Kelly Campbell) seem to have a good relationship with their new-age, gun-wielding neighbour Tim (Robert O’Mahony), but mistrust and paranoia soon begin to whittle away the already tenuous connection between them. Added to that, there is a creeping sense of animosity between the couples themselves, with Hannah barely able to hide her intolerance of the other two; while the whiff of an illicit affair threatens to upset the delicate balance the couples struggle to maintain.
Handsomely photographed by Suzie Lavelle, and with an understated but effective score by Chris White, “One Hundred Mornings” manages to successfully side-step the usual tropes of the post-apocalyptic scenario. In focussing on the couples and their plight, Horgan has crafted a well written, tightly wound human drama.
In fact it doesn’t actually matter what has brought the country to its knees, the daily round of struggling to survive is enough for these characters. The actors are all uniformly excellent and while the film has its flaws, this vision of an Ireland where economic and societal stability have collapsed is made all too chillingly real. As hope dwindles and despair takes hold, we leave the couples to whatever fate awaits them as the 100th morning dawns.