One of the great things about Isolation, a beautifully bleak movie that takes place at the intersection of science, agriculture, industry, machinery, biology, and provincial paranoia, is that it’s so very non-American. Over there in Europe, people freak out about genetic research on crops and livestock (considering a silly movie called Black Sheep, they freak out about it in New Zealand, too). But here in America, we don’t care too much, so long as it doesn’t involve stem cells. In fact, we don’t think much at all about what happens at farms. I suppose people grow wheat, raise cows, and build baseball diamonds. In the last farm-themed movie I saw, Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant did various shenanigans that rekindled their strained marriage. I think they were on a farm. There were horses there.
But Isolation is about the icky stuff that goes on at a farm. Farm animals are stinky and big and kind of weird. They’re huge bags of meat, really. You can’t even ride most of them. Isolation is about that. It’s about what kinds of gross things might happen where giant bags of meat just hang around all day, pooing and peeing and stepping in mud until they get slaughtered and sent to supermarkets so we can eat them.
This Irish movie is also uniquely Irish in a few ways. For instance, everyone speaks Irish, except for the one guy who doesn’t. The movie makes certain assumptions about people living in caravans that we wouldn’t make in America, where we don’t even call them caravans. The police have the word “garda” written on their uniforms, presumably because “police” would be too obvious (I learned about this from the Brendan Gleeson vehicle, The Guard, which is a gleefully Irish middle finger to America and England). I wouldn’t call Isolation as Irish as, say, Far and Away. But it has a lovely provincial sense of place that isn’t just West Virginia or some other state where they have cows.
Watch Isolation on Netflix instant view here, but don’t get too comfortable. Tomorrow, you’re going to have to go out to the theater.