» » Beyond the Fire (2009)

Short summary

From tragedy comes a burning love, but can passion survive the torment of a sinister past
BEYOND THE FIRE tells the story of Sheamy, a gentle Irish ex-priest who arrives in London to find his old family friend and mentor Father Brendan. After an unsuccessful search Sheamy reaches out to the only other person he knows in London, Rory. Rory, a talented musician and band member, takes Sheamy under his wing and introduces him to his flatmate Katie. Immediately, the attraction is undeniable between Sheamy and Katie. However, Katie is a warm hearted woman with her own emotional scars. Their intense romance is short-lived and begins to collapse when the past comes back to haunt them.

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User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Kale
    Before the titles were over I was already making note to praise the intro edit, which was a pitch perfect way to engage the viewer in a honest and visceral way of what was to come. This film is a prime example of the fact that story is what makes a great film, not perfect camera set ups, smooth lighting and overcooked blocking (although the filming itself is nothing to complain about at all...indeed the director has served the story by making it all about the characters, and not about extraneous distractions) It has the rare elements of sub-text, dilemma and jeopardy. I did not once know how the film would end. That is the best thing the filmmaker can give a jaded film buff like me. The chemistry between the main players is amongst the most credible I've seen on film, and I was convinced by the characters in turn. The story was not afraid to go to uncomfortable and complex places, did challenge my understanding and thinking. It did make me react and question, and ultimately it will go in my list of #filmssayingsomething. As an aspiring filmmaker, of course I have my views on technical aspects. But I'd be doing a great film a disservice by writing them here. If blockbusters with rote formula is your thing, this gem may disappoint. However, if you hanker longingly for storytelling, this film will reward.
  • comment
    • Author: GEL
    Set in contemporary London, BEYOND THE FIRE focuses on the efforts of a defrocked Catholic priest (Scot Williams) to come to terms with his love for Katie (Cara Seymour). Although still a virgin, he believes that he can overcome his hang-ups and acknowledge his passion for her. The task proves highly difficult for him, however, in view of what happened to him when he was a child, that left him in mental as well as physical turmoil.

    Maeve Murphy's low-budget drama certainly does not pull its punches; it creates a constricting world dominated by the perpetual presence of sin and guilt. The priest (Sheamy) perpetually goes to church to confess, or to try and obtain spiritual guidance (or inspiration) from the Virgin Mary, but finds his path continually blocked by an officious senior priest Father Brendan (Hugh Sachs). Outside the church Sheamy is like a mental ship without a rudder, alternating between moods of extreme joy and despair. Katie tries her best to empathize with him, but she still regards his behavior as inexplicable. One sequence, taking place in a night-club/ disco with the strobe lights making identification difficult, sums up Sheamy's difficulties; ostensibly out to enjoy himself, he finds himself unable to cope and ends up on the street.

    The world conjured up in Murphy's film is an unfriendly, indifferent environment in which illnesses - both physical as well are emotional - are treated with overweening indifference. The lighting is deliberately dark: even during the daytime, the sun hardly ever shines. This is an appropriate visual metaphor for Sheamy's state of mind. BEYOND THE FIRE ends on a note of qualified optimism, as the two lovers vow to stay together; but at no point are we assured that their relationship will be a long-term one.
  • comment
    • Author: Yozshujind
    A well made and well filmed account of the relationship between a devout ex priest, Sheamy and a trendy female band manager Katy,it lacked an existential edge and was too well rounded and glib in some way. Awkward moments abound where the couple seemed to be too old for the courtship scenes in the clubs and bars of Liverpool. Other strangely inappropriate scenes include the main female character teaching Sheamy about sex by drawing a diagram of a vagina and stilted dialogue were at kilter with the sophisticated appearance of both characters with their post punk Portishead scene clothes. I have never seen a recently defrocked priest look so cool and leathery with a double tat of angel wings. It's a bit of a female fantasy number, Thorn Birds not withstanding. The film is about traumatic abuse and forgiveness as well as sex and passion as a healing tool. The sex scenes are well acted and filmed and convey a loving chemistry between the couple. I don't want to spoil the story but the forgiveness of abuse was a bit hard to swallow and certain statistics at the end of the film focused on Catholic abuse of minors and not also rape, which was more than a bit annoying for a female viewer.
  • Complete credited cast:
    Scot Williams Scot Williams - Sheamy O'Brien
    Cara Seymour Cara Seymour - Katie
    Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
    Victoria Aitken Victoria Aitken - Amy
    Alison Cain Alison Cain - Lisa
    Jimmy Cullen Jimmy Cullen - Angry Driver
    Stu Daye Stu Daye - The Outlaws
    Brett Findlay Brett Findlay - Dying Patient Paul (as Brett Findley)
    Gerard Harris Gerard Harris - Barman
    Ricardo Hawkes Ricardo Hawkes - Hoodie
    Jason Lacey Jason Lacey - Angry Venue Owner
    Pauline Martindale Pauline Martindale - Leader of the Rosary
    Sen Monro Sen Monro - Detention Centre Guard (as Senar Mehmed)
    Jennifer Munby Jennifer Munby - Judge
    Maeve Murphy Maeve Murphy - Therapist
    Pauline Murphy Pauline Murphy - Breige Barlady
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