God’s Creatures is a film that is about protecting the ones we love most. It is also about irreparable consequences, that can sometimes come with being protective. In the film’s approach, God’s Creatures is dark and ominous. The film starts out with some positivity. That would be among family, friends, and those that reconnect after harsh times. The happiness does not last though with God’s Creatures. The tension only grows as more conflicts or deceit begins to be realized.
The setting is set in Ireland, in a fishing village. The cinematography is brisk in its unsettling continuity. With being shot in a negative format of 35 mm projection (with Kodak), the lighting is more natural in the film’s gloom. The web of deceit and dishonesty awaits. The technicality only keeps fading to negative tones. Emily Watson is a mother, and Paul Mescal plays her son. Both are at the center of what is wrong in God’s Creatures. The small town is one that is hard to hide secrets in, and God’s Creatures is set for destruction among relationships.
In God’s Creatures, Watson plays Aileen O’Hara. She is a mother that has a job working with catching oysters. They go through distribution in the fishing village she lives in. Her life though, comes to a dramatic change. Her son Brian (Mescal) comes home. He has been living in another country for a while after a rough past. He decides to come back home. He hopes to have a fresh start after his previous troubles. He starts to pick up some shifts back at home in the fishing village. Aileen tries to keep hope in herself for Brian’s improvements. This all changes though when the authorities reach out to Aileen. They tell her they believe Brian is a criminal for a crime. As a mother, she wants to protect her son. Aileen lies for Brian. Her lie though begins to add fuel to the fire for her friends, family, and worst of all Brian.
As Aileen must face the reality of her choice to protect her son, she must also understand how it can impact her life as well. With Brian’s importance to her, she believes there is faith. It will require more drastic decisions though. As Aileen says, “We’re all God’s creatures in the dark.” Aileen wants to know her son will be ok. It is not guaranteed though, especially since she is dishonest for him. God’s Creatures paints a clear picture of the consequences for lying and the choices one’s made to protect their children.
In the film, the world of happiness and peace comes to a halt. God’s Creatures is a film where the title speaks for itself, and it does so with its breathtaking cinematography. It also does so with its mesmerizing performances by Watson and Mescal. God’s Creatures is destructive by cinematic and artistic nature. The underlying issues are enigmatic and engrossing.
God’s Creatures is not an uplifting film. It is realistic though. The harshness is clear as to why it is happening. The tough love is in-depth, and the light is hard to find. With the fishing village though, the answers may be around many fragments of the film’s setting. Three stars for God’s Creatures.