I have been following Katharine Isabelle’s career now for quite some time, ever since she stunned the world with her performance in Ginger Snaps in 2000. The Green Sea, a mystery drama from director Randall Plunkett, uses the horror starlet in ways previously unforeseen for the talented actress. Playing opposite her is Hazel Doupe; she holds her own against Isabelle through a complex and intriguing character simply called Kid. This Irish indie is an unexpected gem one will not want to miss.
Drunken and hallucinating, Simone (Isabelle) is hard at work on her latest book. She appears to have lost everything—a family she once had, the success of a debut novel, and a band she was in. Now Simone is living in the Irish countryside and getting belligerently drunk every night. After nearly hitting a little girl (Doupe) with her car, she offers Kid some noodles, then leaves to take her to a bus stop. Simone eventually ends up offering her a place to stay since she does not seem receptive to returning home. “You did an okay job cleaning my kitchen, so maybe we could make a little trade,” Simone suggests, as delicately as she can. The kid can crash there temporarily if she keeps the house clean.
The Kid becomes inspiration for the thriller book Simone is writing. Naturally, fantasy bleeds into reality as the book world blends with Simone’s day-to-day life. The stylistic choices made in depicting this work effortlessly, while still keeping a sheen of realism smoothed atop it. Flashes of the beach and woods are peaceful and melodic. Simone tells Kid that she comes out in the woods, and the trees “give her peace.” Clearly haunted by a tragedy from her past, Simone is a fascinating character, even when spouting off dialogue like “stop being so happy, happiness is for dickheads.”
While some of the twists and turns may feel a little too carefully orchestrated, The Green Sea is a vibrant movie filled with personality. Two broken females connecting and playing off each other’s energies would have been fascinating by itself—the introduction of a mystery angle only increases the intensity tenfold. When the tragedy of what really happened in Simone’s past is laid out plainly, it is horribly depressing. I have never seen Katharine Isabelle in this type of role before, and I still remain in awe of her performance days later. I am officially on board for whatever Randal Plunkett delivers next!
The Green Sea is available to rent or buy on Prime Video.