The Sea review

Comforts of the water

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Adapted for the screen by the author, John Banville’s Booker Prize winning novel becomes a heavy, sometimes gruelling meditation on memory and grief. Historian Max (Ciarán Hinds) seeks to recover from the death of his wife by returning to the Irish seaside location of a dark childhood tragedy.

We live out both timelines over 90 minutes with a colourful filter on the childhood arc and lots of grim shots of a near-suicidal Hinds wandering the beach in the present. He carries it easily, but it’s impossible to escape the sense that Banville’s work is best experienced on paper.