'Rewind' is the third Irish movie (following 'One Hundred Mornings' and 'Eamon') to emerge under the aegis of the Irish Film Board's Catalyst project. Under the provisions of this scheme, each movie was awarded a grant of €250,000 and required to adopt some Dogme-like approaches to filmmaking, such as the avoidance of special effects and the absence of night shooting. While some debut directors would flinch when faced with such obstacles, PJ Dillon has risen to the challenge with aplomb.
Of course it helps that Dillon is one of our more accomplished cinematographers ('32A', 'Kings', 'The Runway') and also very accustomed to working on low budget features. It also helps that Dillon has previous with his young co-stars, having directed both Amy Huberman and Allen Leech in an earlier short drama, 'Deep Breaths'.
Shot over a three-week period in Kildare and Skerries, 'Rewind' is a psychological thriller with a twist. When we first encounter Karen (Huberman), she's a woman enjoying a comfortable, middle class lifestyle with a successful husband, a young daughter and a respectable job in a clothes shop. This particular idyll, however, is shattered by the arrival in town of Karl (Leech), an ex boyfriend who knows all about Karen's nefarious past and clearly has blackmail on his mind. Using this Hitchcockian premise, Dillon has fashioned a cracking little thriller with strong performances from all concerned (including Owen McDonnell and Rachael Dowling) and fine support from his crew, notably composer Ian Smyth who provides a compelling score.
If Dillon is the driving force behind the film, the real find of the piece is Amy Huberman. Noted for her sweet and/or comedic performances, it was always going to require more than a change of hair colour and an excessive use of mascara to truly inhabit such a complex character. The Dublin actress delivers the goods and deservedly scooped an IFTA for her efforts. 'Rewind' has set the bar high for the future efforts of both director and lead actress: we await their upcoming projects with interest.