Rioghnach Ní Ghrioghair debuted her short film Safehouse at the Galway Film Fleadh this year. Safehouse opens in quiet, as a couple, Sean (Steve Gunn) and Lorraine (Olga Wehrly) sleep in a remote cabin. But things are not right. There are worrying blood patches on the bed and there is the glimpse of a gun. We are beginning at the aftemath of something and the feeling is that this may not end well.
The initial feeling on watching Safehouse was that the story seemed familiar: we have seen a variation on it many times before. Credit then to director and writer Ní Ghrioghair who manages to make it feel fresh. Exposition is used sparingly, the visuals tell most of the story. The leads are great with particular praise for Olga Wehrly who is superb. The cinematography by Tommy Fitzgerald is excellent giving the film a basking glow akin to a Malick film. The director proudly shows her influences as Safehouse evokes an older time for film, with echoes of the new Hollywood of the 70s (Bonny and Clyde, Badlands).
Safehouse is a fine short, beautiful to look at with a story that is in turn familiar and strange. It has the feeling of a neo noir bathed in sunlight. We do not get many of those in Ireland.