Film Trance, March 22 2014

Film Review: Mirror Lands

The real beauty in Mark Lyken and Emma Dove’s Mirror Lands is that it does not take anyone for a fool. It gives a sweeping portrayal of the Scottish Highlands peninsula, The Black Isle, and in doing so it does not make the area out to be something it is not – covering the good and bad – but put together with a lot of heart, and much style.

Using a mixture of voice overs and natural sounds, Mirror Lands covers the areas nature, industry and rural life from three different viewpoints: land, sea and air. Its diverse approach is not just shown through its wide range of shots – whether that be from a plane, in a field, or on a fishing boat – but through the different voices you here – both young and old – which builds a real sense of community spirit.

As one local stated, it may lack the beauty of the west coast, but there is a certain peace to the area that they are, as are many others, proud to call home. It is true, the peninsula does not have the beautiful beaches or the stunning mountain ranges, but it has its own charm to it – one which you get a real sense of through Lyken and Dove’s work.

It gives a well balanced overview of the areas past and present, and you gain a real sense of the proudness the community holds for this peaceful part of the Scottish Highland. Mirror Lands is a charming piece of work – simple, yet classy – that gives you a real in depth and honest insight into a land that many will not be aware even exists. As another The Black Isle inhabitant added: “It is a different world to some people.”

Different indeed – but they are proud of that, and rightly so. 

By Matt Watson