The Reel Review
A mousey, lonely employee at a juvenile detention center in 1964 Massachusetts gets caught up in a sinister turn of events that tests her loyalty when she becomes enamored with the glamorous new prison psychologist. Thomason McKenzie and Anne Hathaway star in this mystery/thriller based on Ottessa Moshfegh’s 2015 novel.
Working with a dimly-lit color palate and a bluesy score, director William Oldroyd (Lady MacBeth) captures the dreary life of our unreliable narrator, a blank slate of a person who comes alive when Hathaway’s Rebecca shows an interest in her. The onscreen chemistry between McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit Last Night in Soho) and Hathaway totally sells the story, at least in the first half of the film.
The unevenly paced story falters and gets more ridiculous after the big reveal, while remaining largely faithful to the novel. A jaw dropping monologue from the always-good Marin Ireland (The Dark and the Wicked, Hell or High Water) keeps the suspense going, with an abrupt and ambiguous ending that will serve only to frustrate most viewers.
• Eileen has been nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards, one for director WIlliam Oldroyd and Supporting Actress nominations for Anne Hathaway and Marin Ireland.
• Eileen was shot with ARRI ALEXA Mini digital cameras with a special Angénieux 25-250 HR zoom lens to give it a dated, 1960s period look.
• Director William Oldroyd says Marin Ireland was only able to do her big moment in the film three times, due to its emotional, intricate nature.