Irish writer Joseph O'Connor adapted his own enigmatic short story for this dirge-like psychodrama of romantic obsession, uncluttered by any aspirations to ape FATAL ATTRACTION.
Narrator Miles Butler (Brendan Coyle), a young husband in a Dublin suburb, is practically lost the instant he glimpses the new tenant downstairs, a pretty American named Campbell Rourke (Juliette Gruber), who has returned to the Auld Sod to discover her roots. Even though he barely acknowledges
her during their few face-to-face encounters, Miles broods constantly over Campbell. He shares her tram car to work and methodically intercepts and reads her mail, from which he learns she has an estranged boyfriend. Typing as Campbell, Miles sends the lover a note rejecting him; that and his
habit of paying her bills reveal his madness to authorities. Despite a restraining order, therapy, and ultimatums from his long-suffering wife, Miles secretly hopes for some form of communion with Campbell. Then he hears that Campbell, reunited with her boyfriend, is pregnant. Miles kills himself.
The title is Gaelic for "Elsa," a name Campbell gives her unborn daughter, perhaps a bleak joke on Miles's perpetual problems with women. AILSA offers no terrifically profound insight into the nature of obsession. Instead, it's a compact mood piece that takes the viewer into the closed universe of
a stalker/voyeur. Though not a traditional thriller, the feature is endowed with a tangible menace, the tone set by Cian de Buitlear's somber cinematography. Definitely not a picture for all tastes, AILSA was originally produced for television but had scattered theatrical showings in Europe and
the United States. (Adult situations, profanity, nudity.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: Irish writer Joseph O'Connor adapted his own enigmatic short story for this dirge-like psychodrama of romantic obsession, uncluttered by any aspirations to ape FATAL ATTRACTION. Narrator Miles Butler (Brendan Coyle), a young husband in a Dublin suburb, is… (more)