Ill Fares The Land: Review

Ill Fares The Land: Review

Ill Fares The Land: Review.

George (Noah Silverstone) is a teenage boy living in a small town with his father and his brother. His dad is abusive, constantly belittling his confidence and he feels alone in the world. He has his brother, Trey (Ruaridh Aldington) but he’s unfortunately fallen into the impression that anybody not from their shores has no right to be there.

Then one day George is on his way home from school and finds a mermaid laying on the beach and something is unleashed from his psyche. He opens up for the first time in ages to his brother and although the conversation is unusual, they find a way to bond and connect over the grief of their terrible upbringing.



Ill Fares the Land is a short film written and directed by Patrick Ireland which tells of the terrible things that can happen in life mixed with the fantastical and dreamlike. Combining two very different worlds may seem jarring, but the mermaid helps to serve as a metaphor that tells us more about George and his trauma that could ever be expressed in words.

Juxtaposed with a real-world scenario which is unfortunately very prevalent in the UK today, it helps to bring context to a life where people have made terrible decisions.

Both Silverstone and Aldington give great performances in the little time they are given to flesh out the story. Silverstone makes the audience really feel for him in his quiet and emotional performance of a teenager caught in a bad situation. Alternately, Aldington gives a terrifyingly realistic performance as a man caught up in the anger and hatred of the far right, whilst showing a level of depth and feeling when finally coming together with his brother over an awful life.

However, the mermaid doesn’t just serve as a metaphor for George’s trauma and that is something the audience may immediately recognise. The idea that she represents an immigrant and how George deals with her may feel a bit heavy handed for some.

Although not outwardly addressed in the film, the comparison is clear. Hopefully though, the message that the film is putting across may sink in more gradually with those who think like Trey.


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Joel found out that he had a talent for absorbing film trivia at a young age. Ever since then he has probably watched more films than the average human being, not because he has no filter but because it’s one of the most enjoyable, fulfilling and enriching experiences that a person can have. He also has a weak spot for bad sci-fi/horror movies because he is a huge geek and doesn’t care who knows it.

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