Directed by: #RobbieWalsh
There is something strangely familiar about Robbie Walsh’s Eden, despite a safe bet that this is unlike any other production before it. From start to finish, there is a feeling that we’re watching an all too realistic account of what it is like to be homeless in Ireland, even to the untrained eye.
Karl Pilkington lookalike Adam (Johnny Elliott) has been on the streets for over a year. He has taken to sleeping rough in the local park, using the play structures as minimal cover, but waking early and returning late enough so as to not look suspicious. He spends his time by the stream, walking through the forest or collecting cigarette butts outside the station. As we move further into Adam’s day, it becomes clearer where his luck ran out and how far a wealthy man can fall.
Between Walsh’s cleverly subtle arrangement and Elliott’s understated portrayal of Adam, Eden manages to give us a chilling perspective from the streets, a rarely explored viewpoint that plunges the viewer into a guilty existence. As a character, Adam doesn’t always have the audience onside – his aggressive approach towards a lady at the bus stop hardly begs for sympathy – but this gives him more depth and continues to provide the feeling we are watching very relatable interactions.
This is one of many two-character scenes that Walsh delivers well and where the film is strongest. The first act spends a little too much time showing Adam sitting by streams or walking through the forest, suffering from a lack of human interaction and continual silence. Perhaps that is the point – to really drive home how it is – but for the audience, it can venture into the slightly dull. However, the warmth of the story is increasingly powerful and the sadly comical Gandalf and Hannibal impressions, as well as the interaction with the stray dog, present the strength of Elliott as a lone actor. Adam often quietens his kindness, but his increasing likeability is still apparent.
The soundtrack doesn’t necessarily match the grainy tone of Eden, but it is emotive enough that this isn’t all that distracting, although the sound editing itself leaves a little to be desired where water is involved. But the overall premise, biblical undertones and clever dialogue enable forgiveness of the smaller mistakes and strengthen a simple, yet powerful story.