If Miguel Alexandre were trying to make a revenge story seem dull without using all the effective formulas that work great in this catchy genre, he could not have accomplished his purpose much better than he unintentionally has in Black Island (2021).
Conceived as a TV film, it is only useful as an entertainment to help you fall asleep after lunch. I don’t know if the director has no ambition at all or if an imposition exists on these kinds of movies for them to be boring and predictable. At least, some exist as quality material created for TV, as you can see on this Incluvie post.
Dull, tedious, and full of flaws
The plot is constructed around the figure of a new substitute teacher who arrives at the Black Island and her relationship with a young local student, a thing that will disturb the peace that seems to reign on the isle.
The film starts with some eye-catching wide shots to present us with the environment where the plot will be developed. The use of drones and high-tech film tools, such as gimbals, create a good impression at first. Nonetheless, soon it becomes overwhelming, and you will realize that there is no reason to continually abuse the use of those tools. On the one hand, stabilizing the image with a gimbal-like device has its flaws. On several occasions you may feel dizzy because of the blurry sweep images. On the other hand, it seems like nowadays in cinema using drones to take long or wide shots has become a common thing. I do not pretend to criticize this powerful device, which has simplified the act of shooting these cinematographic takes. However, if the filmmaker constantly uses it, the aesthetic results are boring and not attractive at all.
In this unconditional attempt to make a dull movie, the actors play an important role, too. Not a single interpretation is believable. They seem to be taking part in a theatre play, and the over-representation of clichés further weakens the tedious plot.
Toxic and self-interested relationships poorly represented
Black Island attempts to depict a toxic relationship between the substitute teacher and one of her students with whom she seems to be obsessed, although we will discover that she has some hidden interests motivating her. If I can point out one good point that Miguel Alexandre’s piece makes, is that it does a good job narrating the side-effects of this behaviour. Even so, trying to depict this uncomfortable situation, the movie does not fully achieve its purpose, and sometimes it seems like Alexandre is more interested in depicting steamy love scenes rather than telling us the problems related to this situation.
At the risk of repeating myself, I must say that Black Island is characterised by its dullness. All the factors exposed by this review corroborate that this picture, dully fashioned and dully played, is not worth watching.