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The Independent Critic

Colin Hickey, Jack O'Mahony, Sahar Jarrahie-Koom, Clara Kirby, Clara Rose Hickey, Liam Cotter, Muriel O'Brady, Finn O'Donovan
Colin Hickey
80 Mins.

 Movie Review: Perennial Light 
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I've flirted with the idea of giving Irish indie filmmaker Colin Hickey a 4-star review before, a rating that anyone who follows me will know is exceedingly rare. However, with his latest feature film Perennial Light Hickey has earned it with an 80-minute journey that is, quite simply, extraordinary to behold. 

Set for its world premiere this weekend at the Dublin Film Festival, Perennial Light is set in coastal Ireland. A young boy makes the journey from childhood to adulthood, where the haunting memory of his best friend's sudden death triggers a turbulent inner struggle. We watch as he struggles with his darkness, a young fisherman now who embarks on a quest for healing and redemption. 

Hickey has always been an exceptionally visual filmmaker, a filmmaker who prefers to tell stories via imagery over dialogue and a filmmaker whose narrative cohesion is often found in the immersiveness of that imagery. Lensing the film himself, and wondrously so, Hickey weaves together a tapestry that includes a dialogue-free ensemble cast, remarkable black-and-white visuals, and absolutely stunningly rendered animation. Hickey emphasizes simplicity, layered images enveloping us and all of our senses. Perennial Light is a risk-taking film that is so successful in taking those risks that you often don't realize it until the scene is long gone and you're left with how it made you think and how it made you feel. 

Even though Perennial Light is, in actuality, a rather intimate film, it's a film I would love to see on IMAX with Paolo Chianta's animation dancing across the screen, a sparse yet aching original score swirling all around me, and Hickey's own visuals demanding my attention. The sound design here is masterful, nearly perfect in the way it complements the imagery and the characters whom we get to know much more than you might think. 

While it might seem that a silent ensemble would be irrelevant, this couldn't be further from the truth. They are remarkably placed and remarkable in capturing the film's tone and meaning. Perennial Light delves into grief, however, it practically vibrates into its perennial light. Hickey has always been a filmmaker to trust his audience and anyone who's familiar with the filmmaker will know to expect the unexpected. Deeply meaningful and emotionally honest, Perennial Light is a transcendent experience grounded within the richness and beauty of the human experience. 

If you're in Dublin this weekend, there's nowhere else you should be than at the Dublin Film Festival checking out Perennial Light. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic