EIFF 2016: The Library Suicides (2016)


AKA Y Llyrgell

Go figure. I go many years without seeing any Welsh movies (i.e. movies in which the dialogue is actually spoken in Welsh) and then I catch two in the same year. So far. The first was the beautiful, if glacially-paced, The Passing (which I caught at Dead By Dawn this year, and which also happened to star Dyfan Dwyfor). And this is the second.

Catrin Stewart takes on a dual role here, playing Ana and Nan, twins who set out for revenge when their mother (Sharon Morgan) is apparently killed in a way that is made to look like suicide. Ana and Nan know just when they will be able to get the man responsible (Ryland Teifi), although it means also dealing with a likable security guard (Dwyfor) as everything unfolds in the library they work in. It’s not long into their plan when things start to go awry, revelations are hinted at, and a tidy resolution looks to be nigh on impossible.

Written by Fflur Dafydd, and directed by Euros Lyn, The Library Suicides is a solid drama with a few thriller elements mixed in. The first half really keeps viewers intrigued, moving back and forth between the death scene that sparked off the chain of events and the current bloodshed in the library. The plan hatched by Ana and Nan is a good one, or so it seems from a cursory glance, but things start to falter at the same rate as our leads, with the second half of the movie a less interesting affair lacking the required levels of tension.

And everything is topped off with a finale that will please some while infuriating others. I won’t spoil anything here, of course, but I believe that the ending requires a bit more consideration and interpretation than it deserves, with the execution leaving some decent ideas lost in a brow-furrowing muddle.

Stewart is very good in her two roles, although neither character is given any specific trait to separate her from the other, and Dwyfor has viewers on his side for every moment that he’s onscreen. Morgan and Teifi have less screentime, but both do well in their roles, particularly in the more extensive and explanatory flashbacks shown in the third act.

This is a good film, but it’s also one that feels full of untapped potential, be it from the twin characters, the revenge plot, or even that ending. I’d still say that it’s worth your time though. Just be warned that you may feel a bit resentful of it as the end credits roll.

The Library Suicides is being shown at 1820 on 17th June and 1545 on 18th June, both screenings at Cineworld.


Film Rating: ★★★☆☆

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