With Euros Lyn’s The Library Suicides, or Y Llyfrgell as it’s known as in Welsh, we’ve got an atmospheric, charming thriller set in the National Library of Wales.
When one of Wales’ greatest authors, Elena Wdig (Sharon Morgan), seemingly commits suicide, her twin daughters believe that their mother’s final words point towards her biographer (Ryland Teifi) having actually murdered her. As such, the twins, Ana and Nan (both played by the brilliant Catrin Stewart), decide to use the setting of their workplace – the aforementioned National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth – to exact some bloody revenge for the death of their dear mam. Concocting a meticulous plan, the twins’ scheme has a spanner thrown into the works by the unexpected presence of night porter Dan (Dyfan Dwyfor), and from there we see the action unravel over a cold, lonely Welsh night.
Now you may think that a library may be a slightly unusual locale for such a tale, but The Library Suicides, adapted from the Fflur Dafydd’s novel, sees the vacuous-yet-claustrophobic setting of Aberystwyth’s National Library of Wales being the undisputed perfect setting for the story that we see playing out before our eyes. For those who’ve never been to the National Library, it’s massive and genuinely awe-inspiring. As Ana and Nan trap biographer Eben in the library, the never-ending corridors and open spaces give a feeling of isolation and amp up the dread, whilst the tightly-constructed corners and row after row of books also balance this out with an eerie sense of claustrophobia. It’s a well-calculated, well-crafted story, and it’s a credit to Fflur Dafydd’s original work and this subsequent adaptation in how well the location is used here.
Of course, a thriller wouldn’t be a thriller if there weren’t certain secrets, revelations and developments at play, and The Library Suicides delivers its fair share of those, but there’s no way of discussing this film without highlighting the stunning work of Catrin Stewart. As the twins at the centre of this tale, Stewart is simply mesmerising, delivering two completely different performances but not going overboard to slap the audience in the face with just how different Ana and Nan are. Whilst Ana has a softer, sympathetic side, Nan is more driven and focussed on the task at hand, and these two differing personalities really start to be distinguished as the plot unravels. The fantastic editing work from Euros Lyn and his team make the plentiful scenes of Catrin Stewart acting alongside Catrin Stewart seem flawless, and you’d genuinely think that Stewart and a twin of her own were being watched on your screen. Additionally, the rest of the small cast are also pitch-perfect for what’s required, and Dyfan Dwyfor as slacker porter Dan is a charming presence who unwittingly becomes involved in the twins’ planned murder of the man they believed killed their mother.
To look at, The Library Suicides is a glorious film, with the rich environment of Aberystwyth’s National Library of Wales giving an almost gothic shimmer proceedings. Added to that, the delicate score from Dru Masters is just the right side of ‘desolate John Carpenter’ to only further add to this well-paced affair.
In terms of small scale thrillers, The Library Suicides is one of the best to come around in years, driven powerfully forward by Catrin Stewart’s masterful dual performance and a location that is truly unique.
Special Features: Making of / Deleted scenes / Trailer
THE LIBRARY SUICIDES (Y LLYFRGELL) / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: EUROS LYN / SCREENPLAY: FFLUR DAFYDD / STARRING: CATRIN STEWART, DYFAN DWYFOR, RYLAND TEIFI, SHARON MORGAN, CARWYN GLYN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW