by Eric Kohn (November 12, 2008)

In Irish director Declan Recks‘ remarkably tense romantic drama “Eden,” actions speak louder than words — or, at least, more coherently, as far as American audiences are concerned. For those inexperienced in the careful discernment of regional accents, “Eden” offers no subtitles, but the central themes are thankfully not lost in translation. Recks relied on visual lyricism as much as dialogue when translating Eugene O’Brien‘s devastating 2002 play about an estranged young married couple from the stage to the screen. As a result, he doesn’t mind if a few lines remain unintelligible to certain viewers. “It makes them pay attention more,” Recks told indieWIRE. “People might not get every single word, but they know what’s going on from the performances. It’s not a very heavily plotted film; it’s a character study.”

Making his directorial debut after working on Irish television productions for several years, Recks put a clear effort into creating a narrative with distinctly cinematic qualities. Filmed in a gorgeous spectrum of colors to evoke the rustic seaside community where the story takes place, “Eden” shifts between conflicting perspectives of a relationship on the rocks. It begins by examining the fractured marriage of Billy (Aidan Kelly), a reckless alcoholic, and Breda (Eileen Walsh), in the days leading up to their tenth wedding anniversary. “A lot of films tend to start at the beginning of a relationship, where you see the most exciting parts,” Recks said. “They tend not to deal with the people who have been together for years and are trying to deal with everyday life. I think the fact that we start our story there makes it slightly unconventional.”

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