The story of two sisters who grew up on the fractious Irish border. When one of them, who has been missing, finally returns home, the intense bond with her sister is re-ignited. Together they unearth their mother’s past but uncovered secrets and resentments which have been buried deep, threaten to overwhelm them.
Cathy Brady’s Wildfire is a quiet and powerfully meditative film about sisterhood, family, and learning to cope with past troubles. Because it is an indie movie, it’s probably going to get quite overlooked by a large number of people which is genuinely heartbreaking considering how this is one of the finest films of the year so far.
From the moment it starts to the moment it concludes, Wildfire wastes no time on getting to the nitty-gritty. These two sisters have a checkered past and their relationship is a bit rocky to say the least, and the great thing is that we learn almost everything we need to know about them through visual storytelling instead of long drawn-out expository scenes.
Of course, some expostion is needed in every film. Films just wouldn’t work at all if we didn’t know what we were supposed to be following with no backstory, etc. And the great thing about Wildfire is that whenever there is expostion, it never becomes frustrating.
A lot of people are more than likely going to watch the film and find that not a whole lot happened, but I couldn’t disagree more. There is so much intricacy and emotion lingering throughout this story. It’s an extremely simplistic film in that it only ever has a couple of locations, one simple storyline and a couple of lead actors, but all of those things are things that I feel make the film that much stronger.
When you put all of your focus on those key elements instead of trying to do too many things in one story, you have a recipe for greatness, and Brady certainly cooked up a highly emotional and touching film. It doesn’t pack enough punch to get you in tears by the time the credits roll, but you’ll certainly be feeling something.
What makes this story so much more poignant and gut-wrenching is the lead performances from both Nora-Jane Noone and Nika McGuigan. They work marvellously off one another and deliver two excellently nuanced performances. Sadly, McGuigan passed away before the film’s release, so she will never be able to see this film that she worked so hard on come to light. But I hope somewhere, she is taking comfort in the fact that a lot of people are seeming to really love her performance in Wildfire and the film in general. I am definitely a fan.
Overall Grade: A-
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Directed by: Cathy Brady
Written by: Cathy Brady
Distributed by: Front Row Filmed Entertainment
Release Date: June 25, 2021
Running Time: 85 minutes