Forgotten Gems: Into The West (1992)

Into The West (1992) is an Irish, magical realism film. However, it’s much more than that. SciFiPulse is here to take a closer look at the largely forgotten movie....

Into The West (1992) is an Irish, magical realism film. However, it’s much more than that. SciFiPulse is here to take a closer look at the largely forgotten movie. And, we’ll be stating our case for why we feel it’s a truly magical one to watch, in case you’ve never seen it . . .

 

Premise

Gabriel Byrne plays Papa Reilly, a struggling father from the Irish traveller community. His wife, Mary, died, giving birth to their second son, Oisin — known as “Ossie” (Ciaran Fitzgerald). Ossie (Ciaran Fitgerald) and his older brother Tito (Ruaidhri Conroy) don’t want to live in a tower block. Papa (Gabriel Byrne) insists they should all live there. They feel confined there, and disconnected from their deceased mother. Then, one day, a white horse turns up. The children’s grandfather (David Kelly), Mary’s father, sees the horse on the beach. The horse is wild, and refuses to be tamed. But, it bonds with Ossie. The two soon begin a magical relationship that really needs to be seen to be enjoyed. There are truly heartfelt moments, but also some genuinely hilarious scenes in the film.

 

Themes and Social Significances

There are many themes in Into The West. A very important one is there is at least some positive portrayal of the travelling community. There are still cliches and stereotypes. However, what’s important is what we see Papa go through. There’s genuinely moving human moments and scenes throughout the film. But another theme of the film is the important tradition of storytelling within Irish culture.

The use of magical realism is a very clever way of capturing the theme of loss in the film. Whilst it’s never stated outright, the horse seems to be an incarnation of Mary. The name of the horse is Tir Na Nog, which is a Gaelic phrase. It roughly translates into “land of youth”. The worry of getting older is also a fear of death, which Oisin states during the film. But the significance is that the mystical place is deemed preferable to life in early 1990s Ireland as a traveller. So, we see references to hardship and also discrimination, too.

 

Legacy

Perhaps the best legacy of the film is that it’s a “cult classic”. Most Irish people who were young during the 90s will have seen the film. Also, there’s a good many Irish actors in it that have gone onto much bigger things. They include the already mentioned Gabriel Byrne, obviously, but also Colm Meaney (who we reported on this week, discussing Star Trek) and Brendan Gleason in supporting roles. Overall, Into The West is a charming, heartwarming film that has a distinct feel. It’s not your typical children’s fantasy film, and if you have never seen it, it’s one to watch. We’ve kept this feature as spoiler free as possible, so you can still fully enjoy this wonderful film.

 

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