Wildfire: LFF Film Review

Wildfire

As my time with LFF has been extremely limited this year, I’ve tried to get in all the ones that have already been hyped up or established as ones to see, so I wanted to mix things up by checking out Cathy Brady‘s Wildfire, which I knew literally nothing about.

Wildfire follows Kelly (Nika McGuigan, in her final role before her death last year) as she returns home to a Northern Ireland border town and shows up at her sister Laura’s (Nora Jane Noone) home, having suddenly disappeared two years before. Although they’ve handled it very differently, it is clear that the siblings have suffered a lot of emotional trauma in the past, and Kelly’s reappearance derails Laura’s seemingly normal life.

The film slowly reveals the source of their sisters’ trauma by drip-feeding us information in brief dream-like flashbacks until we can piece the mystery together by ourselves. It was intriguing for a while, but these flashes of imagery (is it a memory or a dream?) disrupted the flow of the present-day story.

The two lead actresses have great chemistry with each other and I enjoyed watching how their relationship transformed throughout the movie – it starts off very frosty, with Laura naturally being furious about her missing sister just showing up out of the blue, but eventually, they reconcile, get that strong sense of sisterhood back, and go out and start causing trouble. McGuigan was an intriguing presence; I could never figure Kelly out or understand why she would do certain bizarre or ill-advised things, while Noone gave a powerhouse performance as her constant defender.

I felt a bit let down by the material. I liked the set-up and the relationship between the two sisters, but it was a pretty gloomy watch and I would have liked more details about Kelly’s disappearance and more closure at the end. It just didn’t quite come together for me.

Seen as part of the London Film Festival. Currently without a general release date

Rating: 3 out of 5.