Rating: 4 out of 5.

Everything can change in a second… the car crash that sets off the entire chain of events in SXSW drama, It Is In Us All, immediately draws the viewer into the plight of Hamish (Cosmo Jarvis). He has only just rented a car to travel across the Irish countryside when he gets into an extreme car wreck driving through the woods late into the night. Hamish wakes up the next day with rib fractures, lacerations, and more, but the other car he hit was not so lucky. One of the passengers, a 15 year-old local schoolboy, is sadly killed. His brother, a 17 year-old animal lover named Evan (Rhys Mannion) who cares for his aging granddad, bonds with Hamish in unexpected, frequently touching ways.

Part of this film’s beauty comes through the stunning visuals, showcasing the vibrant water and cliffs of Ireland. The composition of several shots, particularly those fueled by heavy music and strobe lighting, is seamless. This pairs nicely against the acting performances of both Rhys Mannion and Cosmo Jarvis. Hamish is almost always in a constant state of undress. Hamish and Evan both help one another in embracing their emotions about the accident. For a large swath of It Is In Us All, I was waiting for that intense emotional release that Hamish had clearly been repressing for years. When the script from writer/director Antonia Campbell-Hughes finally allows us the cathartic release of his frustrations, Jarvis’s acting is applause-worthy.

The mother of the two boys is understandably upset with Hamish, and wastes no time harassing him into submission. The main conflict comes through Hamish’s hunt for answers about his deceased mother. Hamish works at a production house with his father, but he is very much not on his side. His father acts cagey when questioned about their past, an instant red flag. The answers Hamish gets from around town clash against his present-day guilt for the accident that killed Evan’s brother. The two become nearly inseparable, much to the behest of the boys’ mother.

If the plot sounds almost soap opera-esque, I think this is done by design. I found it all to be believable on one hand, and the downer of an ending certainly tries hard to sell this as something of a dark fable. Perhaps there is truly no escaping one’s past, as eventually, one always reaps what they sow. What happens after we die? Is there an afterlife? Evan and Hamish ask the big questions, but there are no easy answers. It Is In Us All posits an impossibly grim message, and executes it with flair.

It Is In Us All debuted at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival.

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