A neatly observed still life of a group of characters in a remote Scottish village, “From the Island” is a solid fest item that looks unlikely to make the crossing to theatrical.
Principals are a soccer-mad teen (Iain F. Macleod) torn between studies that will get him to a mainland university and first love with a girl (Donna Macleod); a retired schoolmaster (Ken Hutchison) chronicling village life who becomes obsessed with a silent stranger; and a nurse (Wilma Kennedy) due to get hitched to a local go-getter just back from Texas. Helmer Mike Alexander shows a surer hand here in juggling moods than in his scattershot Scottish comedy “Dreaming,” made for pubcaster BBC in 1990. There’s a nice blend of ironic comedy (small-town mentality) and simmering sexuality (the teens’ confused love, plus the schoolmaster’s secret passion for the nurse) that fuels the pic even when there’s not much going on onscreen. Leisurely pacing, however, may prove a turnoff for some auds.
Performances and tech credits are all solid, with the Wester Ross, Scotland, locations looking fine in the blowup from Super-16mm.