Rachel Carlson (Demi Moore), is a successful mystery novelist married to an unsuccessful wanna-be writer, Brian (Henry Ian Cusick), whose life falls apart when her 5-year old son Thomas (Beans Balawi) drowns in the London canal outside her home, after Rachel leaves a gate unlocked. Racked by guilt, her marriage is crumbling and her writing stops; her best friend, tabloid journalist Sharon (Kate Isitt), finds her a secluded cottage in a remote Scottish fishing village, opposite a small island with a lighthouse. She finds its keeper, young Angus (Hans Matheson), instantly likeable, but she begins to see and hear messages from her dead son - and a local woman, Morag (Therese Bradley) confirms that the spirit of Thomas is trying to warn her of impending danger. When the villagers tell Rachel that Angus committed suicide seven years earlier, Rachel fears she may be going mad - but then discovers it's her life, not just her sanity that's in danger.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Demi Moore is used to the odd supernatural love story (Ghost) and she works hard at Rachel, but the screenplay just isn't up to the genre. It's not super, it's not that natural and it's not very thrilling. With ideas derived from films like Don't Look Now and Vertigo, Half Light falls into the demi monde of movies that feel like cars on a cold morning: revving as if the engine were about to engage, but it doesn't quite happen. And soon (but at 110 minutes, not soon enough), the battery wears out.
There is clunk everywhere, from practicalities like moving around the setting (she often appears on the lighthouse island a fair distance away opposite her rented cottage as if it was a short paddle, as do other characters) to the contrived plot that twists its supernatural theme around a second hand murder plot (think Double Jeopardy). But it's also the little details that often let the film down, small things that mount up and break the magic.
As symbolised by Brett Rosenberg's score, the film tends to take itself too seriously and the beautiful cinematography underlines the film's lack of depth, even when Rachel is sinking in the water, her life in danger. Demi Moore is as good as the script lets her, and the supporting cast are likeable, but the end result is not even half right.
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HALF LIGHT (M)
CAST: Demi Moore, Hans Matheson, Beans Balawi, Kate Isitt, James Cosmo, Henry Ian Cusick, Therese Bradley, Joanne Hole
PRODUCER: Garth H. Drabinsky, Joel B. Michaels, Brian Oliver, Clive Parsons, Andreas Schmid
DIRECTOR: Craig Rosenberg
SCRIPT: Craig Rosenberg
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ashley Rowe
MUSIC: Brett Rosenberg
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Don Taylor
RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 20, 2006
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.