As we’ve established before in related blogs, Eoin Macken doesn’t do stuff the way other people do. You might know him as the dashing, yet ever courageous Sir Gwaine in the BBC show Merlin, or maybe you’ve seen his movies on Youtube, but no matter where you’ve discovered him, if you’ve seen him, you remember him. This blog is not going to be about how much respect and fangirl feelings I have for this man. This blog is going to be about his latest movie, Cold and the convention style screening he offered the fans.
A few months ago, Eoin started a crowdfunding campaign in order to finish his project, a movie starring his Merlin costar Tom Hopper. If you are not familiar with the crowdfunding concept, it is the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations (per Wikipedia). In short, Eoin asked us, fans, to help him fund his movie. The response exceeded the expectations and almost 300 people gave money to help make this movie.
Back in early November 2012, Eoin and Tom had a convention in London to help raise a little more money and to have a way to give back to the fans. At that stage they had just finished filming so the Q&A at the event revolved around filming, preparation and a whole lot of Merlin related questions. It was a perfect Saturday and although it was a lot of driving from France, my friend Alie and I had the best time.
Earlier this summer, Eoin started tweeting about a possible Cold convention in August where he would screen the movie for the fans. In a way, this project had become our project and I couldn’t stay in France and miss it. After all, I helped make this movie (ok maybe I’m only responsible for the renting of a small lamp but if it is so, then I’m really proud that this lamp is in the movie because of me).
So, on Friday, August 2nd, Alie and I once again traveled by Eurostar towards London. Thanks to a great last minute deal on the internet we were able to get a very (very very very) nice hotel room just a little outside London for the price of a room in a hostel in the city center. And believe me it was a very nice hotel. After an evening out, admiring the beauty of London by night with Simon (who writes for this blog as well), we slept a little and by Saturday morning we were entering the Genesis Cinema! What a beautiful theater! A little old school with carved ceilings, yet still very modern. We hadn’t had any indication on how many people would be there, so after Eoin showed us the way (yes Eoin was the usher), we entered the room and were surprised (or maybe not surprised but happy) to see that it was almost full with over 150 people seated. At 11 a.m. sharp, Eoin and Tom gave a little introduction speech and then the movie started.
I have watched every Eoin Macken film available on Youtube or on dvd, and although they are all different (in genre, in length, in mood) they all have something in common; the beauty of the images and a twist in the script. Knowing this, I couldn’t wait to see Cold and experience the movie. And the word experience is not used lightly. As the movie has not been released yet, I will only give you my impressions and not tell you anything revealing about the plot. Two brothers reconnect after the death of their father. This is all you need to know when you start watching the movie.
First of all, if you are expecting to see a beautiful movie, then you’re in luck, it is breathtaking. The landscapes are gorgeous (If Eoin wanted each frame to feel like a painting, I would go to the museum that displays them…amazing job from cinematographer Eimear Ennis Graham), the actors are stunning, the story is haunting. As I let myself dive into this story, I forgot that I was in a movie theater…I was transported to the beauty that is County Clare, I was walking in the water with the characters, I was having a pint in the back of the bar listening to Evora in the distance, I was IN the movie. The plot seems fairly simple but that is only appearances. What struck me the most weren’t the twists but the fact that although there is no way to foresee what’s coming, but once you get it, it all make sense. The movie doesn’t need huge artifacts to captivate you, the story does its job and it does it well.
Since I can’t really tell you anything about the plot, I’m going to tell you about the performances. If you are not completely mesmerized by the talent of Tom Hopper after ten minutes of the movie, I don’t know what you need. His performance is so touching and yet powerful. He looks fourteen feet tall and yet I couldn’t help but feel protective of him. Rebecca Night is flawless. She is so beautiful you can’t take your eyes off of her. Helen Pearson gives a powerful performance and Eoin Macken is riveting.
As for the music… well… It matches the film so well that it could be a character. Kevin Whyms and Evora only made the movie more beautiful and if you thought I was obsessed with Fall Away (song by Evora) before, you haven’t seen a thing.
Again, it is difficult to speak of a movie when you can’t talk about the plot but believe me when I tell you that Cold is not what you expect yet it is all that it needs to be. Beautiful, heartbreaking, dark and yet luminous. There are more questions than answers, but it has been three days since I saw the movie I still can’t stop thinking about it.
At the end, beautiful Evora music swelled from the film while the credits rolled, and everyone started clapping to show how much the movie had been appreciated. I will take a moment to tell you about the credits because they are amazing. Each backer of the movie is mentioned (yes I looked for my name, and yes I screamed a little inside when I found it) and although I know the real story behind the Vive La France at the very end, I’ll keep thinking that deep down it is for me.
Then four chairs, a table and enough water bottles to hydrate a football team were set on the stage in front of the screen. Eoin, Tom and the lovely ladies of candidchaos.co.uk sat down and began the Q&A session. First the girls asked the questions, then the audience did. It was fun, funny and laid back. Eoin, Tom and Rupert Young (who was in the audience as part of the special guests announced by Eoin) won’t be participating in anything Reality TV related, although Adetomiwa Edun (second special guest) wouldn’t say no to Strictly Come Dancing but only if he can dance only the rumba. Those guys are so funny and sweet. People in the audience had various questions about the plot, the making of the movie, and the meaning of it all. It was so interesting to have the guys’ take on the film.
After about 45 minutes, an employee from the cinema came to tell us we had to go due to a showing of The Smurfs 2 starting. I don’t want to complain or anything but do you see the irony here? The Smurfs evicted us. For those unaware, Eoin had a stuffed toy Smurf and he shared it’s adventures with his Instagram community. Apparently the Smurf was a freeloader and bummed a ride with him to Australia where Eoin attended the Supanova Fan Convention. At some point before Eoin departed, said Smurf apparently committed Smurf-icide and was last seen floating in the Bay. Eoin should have been nicer to his smurf instead of letting him drown in the Sydney Bay (Just Saying).
As the bar/cafe wasn’t available (from what I gathered a wedding was happening) we had to go down to the hall of the cinema and we ended up chatting on the pavement in from of the theater. Not the easiest way to talk to the boys but they are so patient and adorable and willing to please everyone that Eoin and Tom (Adetomiwa left after an hour and Rupert after two) spent three hours standing in the sun outside making sure everyone got their picture, autograph or chat before leaving. I waited until the last minutes to go and talk to Eoin (I don’t do so well with big crowds) and all I can say is that the man is fabulous. I like that after all this time he remembers who I am (kind of) and that he is so easy to talk to. We spent a good five minutes together and then he moved on to someone else, but I got to tell him how beautiful his movie is and that’s all that matters, right ?
On a more personal side, it was really nice to meet with some Merlinians (fans of Merlin) again after last seeing them at Cold Con 1 or in Pierrefonds. I’m pretty sure there had never been so many foreigners in one theater at the Genesis Cinema before. Coming from France was far from impressive after meeting people from Germany, Norway, Russia and even the US. Good movies bring people together! Cold is a good movie… see it!