Christine Molloy, Joe Lawlor
No one does angst quite like Aidan Gillian, even when he lined up with the Christine Molloy, Joe Lawlor and the films Producer David Collins to introduce this World Premiere of Mister John at the 2013 Edinburgh International Film Festival he looked a very troubled man and did not return to take part in the Q&A! But I’ll forgive him because he really nailed the part of Gerry Devine in the directing partnership’s second feature film following their debut with Helen in 2008.
Gerry, who lives in London with his wife Kathleen and their young daughter, is going through a marriage breakdown after discovering that Kathleen had sex with another man. He gets a chance to escape from the tensions of this affair when he has to travel to the South East Asia to sort out his brother John’s estate after he had drowned in mysterious circumstances. Upon arriving in this erotic part of the world he goes to stay with John’s beautiful Chinese wife Kim and help’s her reopen the hostess bar owned by her husband and called 'Mister John'. Its here that Gerry gets an opportunity to reinvent himself, encouraged by Kim to wear her husbands clothes he seems to be taking on his persona. What will become of Gerry? Will he assume his brother’s identity or will he return home to re-join his daughter and patch things up with his wife?
In a fairly lengthy Q&A that followed the its premiere Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor gave some incite into the character of Gerry. Describing him as an Irish man abroad that lets things happen to him, when even his wife’s infidelity is a symptom of the failure of his marriage and not the reason for it. Gerry never really shows any interest in sex even with the temptations that befall him in South East Asia. The only time he gets a hard-on is from the after effects of being bitten by a snake!
The film evokes a ‘maybe’ world of easy sex, always at a distance but forming an important current running through the movie. Its eroticism is never overstated although it would not be an exaggeration to describe the general female cast as ‘sexy’. The movie is beautiful to look at, shot with 35mm film on location in Singapore. Its soundtrack deliberately ruptures the narrative at times which is not meant as a criticism having the effect of raising the level of the film were necessary. Granted its core narrative is similar to Helen but it’s a movie that stands on its own merits, and there are plenty to enjoy know its on general release.