Sundance Film Review: Glassland

Posted January 31, 2015 in
Photo: Glassland

Sundance Film Festival
Director: Gerard Barrett

Glassland is both a love story without sex, and a crime story without violence—a decided anomaly among just about every other film about life in an Irish slum. The love is between an overworked cabdriver named John (Jack Reynor) and Jean (Toni Collette), his alcoholic mother. As Jean drinks herself closer and closer to the grave, John’s desperation to get his mother into a rehabilitation clinic despite their poverty leads him to question his own moral boundaries. Glassland is a melancholy, understated look at the combination of poverty and self-destruction that is so common in our society. Collette delivers a performance that jumps back and forth between snarling addict and penitent matriarch, and Reynor captures the pain and frustration of seeing a loved one spiral out of control. Despite the powerful performances by the film’s actors, the film suffers from pacing issues that occasionally derail the film’s momentum and muddle the narrative. Regardless, Glassland is a refreshingly modest take on issues that are typically addressed with more gratuitous filmmaking. –Alex Springer