Although “The Delinquent Season” is the kind of provocative marital drama that’s been in shorter supply in recent years, it maintains a vitality and timelessness that should appeal to anyone who’s ever found themselves at an unexpected crossroads in a long-term romantic relationship.
Mark O’Rowe, making an auspicious feature directing debut (he also wrote), has crafted a highly intelligent, even-handed look at two suburban Dublin married couples — Jim (Cillian Murphy) and Danielle (Eva Birthistle), Yvonne (Catherine Walker) and Chris (Andrew Scott) — who are initially united by the wives’ friendship. But one night, when a shocking outburst by Chris reveals a potential fissure between him and Yvonne, it sets off a series of life-changing events. And down the rabbit hole they go.
To its credit there are no real heroes or villains, just a group of well-intended, middle-class folks so taken up by work, parenting and the demands of everyday life that they are caught short by the surprises that befall them. It’s a story that’s passionate, sad, tragic, haunting and wholly authentic.
O’Rowe, who also wrote 2007’s excellent “Boy A,” which starred a young Andrew Garfield, evokes both a theatrical and literary sense of narrative (it’s likely no coincidence that Jim references novelist John Updike), with scenes effectively unfolding like well-honed chapters. The cast is also first-rate.
‘The Delinquent Season’
Running time: 1 hour, 43 minutes
Playing: Starts Nov. 9, Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood; also on VOD