Rainy in Glenageary – Film Review
Exclusively distributed on You Tube, Rainy in Glenageary is the latest film by award winning Irish filmmaker, Graham Jones, which is based on the cold case of teenager Raonaid Murray’s murder.
The film is described as an ‘unorthodox true crime documentary’ and indeed its introductory scenes seem reminiscent of an episode of Crimewatch or Law & Order. Where the storytelling in this film differs is due to the development of the tale by using static animated images and there is a voiceover throughout, which provides objectivity and a detachment from the subject matter.
Through initial footage that resembles hand held shot scenes, a journey through an eerily lit, misty, pathway re-traces Raonaid’s (‘Rainy’s’) final steps which is particularly poignant but subtle. There are some parallels that could be drawn at that point to the fictional TV programme Twin Peaks and the swirling mist that was also present when the body of its victim, Laura Palmer, was discovered but this scene in Rainy in Glenageary is not gratuitous.
Similarly, further insight is provided into Rainy’s life, over the course of the film, again by use of a voiceover technique and animated images portraying her life with her crew and her usual routine, as a homage, all of which is depicted with sensitivity. The film does continue to present the chain of events, from that fateful night, in a factual manner similar to a reportage. It is also revealed that witness accounts were provided by members of Rainy’s crew to Gardaí, the investigative unit, however the fact remains that no arrests have been made to date, despite the publicity garnered and 22 suspects interviewed.
Other forms of media used in the film include actual newspaper articles, of which there are many, which invoke a sense of frustration that such case has remained unsolved for almost 20 years! Typewritten lists are displayed on the screen, in a reporting format similar to X-Files, detailing the clothes worn by Rainy, on the night in question, which illustrate the extent of the search for the perpetrator. There is also the revelation, within the film, of the additional information that the filmmaker has gleaned from interviews with Rainy’s crew to provide them with a voice after so many years have passed.
The documentary nature of the film is accentuated further by a minimal level of music which is a stark contrast to the use of still graphic art images, which are similar to a comic book. There are aerial views of Glenageary, which are mesmerising and presented beautifully as graphic art images. The film almost seems to be a love letter to Glenageary at times with its stunning imagery.
During the scenes with CCTV footage of Rainy’s activity on the day of the attack, there is still the use of such comic book style images; for me, this would have been a more effective and emotional scene with the use of actual images or moving avatars.
However, the innovative techniques used overall for the unfolding of events in the film are striking and evocative. Unfortunately, it is only within the final scene that there is some seemingly live footage, which certainly pulls at the heart strings. Indeed, there are other moments in the film where live footage could also have been inserted as described above to evoke a more emotional response from the audience.
The format of the film does also pose an interesting question regarding the future style of independent films. Here, it does not appear as though many actors were employed for the filming as the tale is revealed by drawings and paintings, with a voiceover describing the action. It remains to be seen as to whether this might be a format style that continues to be employed for this film genre.
Hopefully, the filming style might be considered as a unique method which creates further awareness of the subject matter of this captivating and important film tribute, to a young life that tragically ended early. It is a film that should definitely be seen by many.
The film is available to view here: