Not perhaps the most obvious filmmaker to tackle the tortured Catholicism of Graham Greene’s autobiographical 1951 novel, yet Jordan proves utterly invested in its writer protagonist Bendrix – a man seething with anger at the very heavens after the break-up of a torrid wartime liaison.
A rainswept London under Nazi bombs provides an immersive context to the film’s intricately structured roundelay of flesh and faith, while the astutely restrained contributions of Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore move in tune with the film’s mature sophistication. Vintage chanteuse Jo Stafford’s aching rendition of Haunted Heart sets exactly the right mood of melancholy yearning.
Not I, Jordan’s short film made for the Beckett on Film project and which stars Julianne Moore, will screen before this feature.
Showing as part of our Neil Jordan Retrospective which runs throughout May. His new film, Byzantium, opens on May 31st.
See our online exhibition of some of Neil Jordan’s substantial document collections held by the IFI Irish Film Archive.