The Library Suicides

Review by Josh Slater-Williams @jslaterwilliams

Directed by

Euros Lyn

Starring

Catrin Stewart Dyfan Dwyfor Ryland Teifi

Anticipation.

A Welsh-language psychological thriller is an appealing market outlier.

Enjoyment.

A diverting enough distraction…

In Retrospect.

…Until the very end spoils the goodwill.

There’s plenty to admire about this nifty, twisty Welsh-language thriller from director Euros Lyn.

After a string of high-profile TV gigs on the likes of Daredevil, Broadchurch and Happy Valley, The Library Suicides sees director Euros Lyn return to the feature filmmaking fold with a twisty psychological thriller. Adapted from the Welsh-language bestseller ‘Y Llyfrgell’ by Fflur Dafydd, what sets the film apart in the current British cinema landscape is its retaining of the Welsh language, a unique setting for its cat-and-mouse games, and a committed dual performance from Catrin Stewart.

When a famous author (Sharon Morgan) seemingly commits suicide by jumping out of a window, her final words to those assembled around her as she perishes on the street suggest that her biographer, Eben, (Ryland Teifi), in fact murdered her. Ana and Nan (both played by Stewart), her twin daughters and witnesses to that insinuation, are lost without her, and so conduct an elaborate plan to enact revenge upon the suspected man. Exploiting their labyrinthine workplace at the National Library of Wales during a night shift, all seems to be going smoothly, until one, unaccounted for security guard (Dyfan Dwyfor) ends up disrupting the saga of vengeance. Intended victims soon escape and various loyalties start to shift from there.

With a slick but dour aesthetic that recalls the look of much of the so-called ‘Nordic Noir’ fare crossing into the British mainstream, The Library Suicides offers a familiar but efficiently taut set of pleasures, at least for a while. As the identical twins, the intense Stewart excels at bringing nuance to the widening moral gap between the pair when it comes to going through with this most extreme act.

It’s the grand finale where things start to flounder. As adapted by the novel’s author, Fflur Dafydd, The Library Suicides concludes with the sort of narrative turn that actively sours what’s come before it. The sort of twist that may well work on the page, which allows for a lot more time with characters’ psychology and internal dialogue than an economic 87-minute runtime, but that onscreen comes across as particularly hokey. And nor is it even an especially distinctive reveal to at least make the film linger in the mind on sheer daffiness alone – if you happened to devise a twist in your head just from reading the twins’ names, you’ve probably guessed correctly.

Published 4 Aug 2016

Tags: Euros Lyn Fflur Dafydd Welsh cinema

Anticipation.

A Welsh-language psychological thriller is an appealing market outlier.

Enjoyment.

A diverting enough distraction…

In Retrospect.

…Until the very end spoils the goodwill.

Read More

American Interior

By David Jenkins

The lead singer of Super Furry Animals heads on a whimsical adventure odyssey in search of his cultural roots.

review LWLies Recommends

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

By Sophie Monks Kaufman

This monochrome Iranian vampire skater movie announces its director Ana Lily Amirpour as an exciting but wayward talent.

review

Pride

By Sophie Monks Kaufman

Stranger-than-fiction events power this affirmative, funny and well-cast social drama about solidarity.

review LWLies Recommends

What are you looking for?

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, LWLies has been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.

Editorial

Design