Enys Men (2022)

78% – Critics
23% – Audience

Enys Men Storyline

Set in 1973 on an uninhabited island off the Cornish coast, a wildlife volunteer’s daily observations of a rare flower turn into a metaphysical journey that forces her as well as the viewer to question what is real and what is nightmare.

Enys Men Photos

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Enys Men Movie Reviews

Sorry Mark.

I watched this in a quite full small cinema in Blaenau Ffestiniog. I live horror, love independent cinema and really love independent British cinema.

However my goodwill can’t detract from this one being a bit of a pretentious stinker. As an aside I hope ‘Bait’ isn’t like ‘Enys Men’.

I just could not get into it. This might have something to do with having to sit through half an hours worth of abstract art-film beforehand. But regardless, the story, the motivation of ‘Enys Men’ is completely shrouded in unnecessary mystery. Yes, to give it its due the viewing was incredibly intense, almost unbearable but without any payoff. The ending doesn’t tie up the loose ends, which I quite like as a narratorial device but frustrated me on this occasion.

Utterly frustrating and pointless

One reviewer here states, “I’m not about to reveal what the movie is about.” Which is a great pity as I have absolutely no idea myself. I don’t think I’m giving anything away when I say that it concerns a volunteer on an uninhabited island who is going a bit nuts – this much appears in every review. The problem with it is that there’s no plot whatever. Yes, there is the vestige of a story. But for a movie that’s classed as a ‘horror film, it’s a total failure because at no point is the viewer treated to any ramping up of tension. The protagonist barely exhibits any real concern at the number of solemn apparitions who pop up to gaze at her throwing a daily stone down a well. I’d have felt slightly more engaged if she became increasingly alarmed and desperate. But no, nothing. She even chats to one or two of them as if their appearance is perfectly natural. I realise that expressing dissatisfaction makes me sound like a terrible philistine. Perhaps I am, but I absolutely loved Jenkin’ s previous movie, Bait, which had similarly fascinating, intense, retro cinematography. But Bait at least wove an engrossing narrative through the camerawork. Enys Men, for me, utterly fails in this department. Instead we have a series of film-school ‘great shots’ with no connecting narrative tissue. I left the cinema feeling deeply short-changed.

When a director wants to be a writer

Enys Men has beautiful shots, great zooms, interesting atmosphere, and an unsettling tone. But what do you get when you have beautiful shots, great zooms, and interesting atmosphere without a full story? You have great pictures. You wanna make great pictures? Become a photographer. These great filmmaking attributes do not add up to anything without a story. And yes, I know there’s a ghost story here….but barely. And it’s 100% based on sumbol and metaphor. Never go full metaphor. Why am I supposed to care? I love experimental films. Persona is one of the greatest movies ever made, but there’s so many layers and depth to the characters and ideas that we are exploring on top of the abstract filmmaking. Mark Jenkin shows here that he can direct. But he also shows he doesn’t know how to write. If he can figure that out, he could make something worth while.