Posted Feb 22 2018

Dark River - This Movie Does Not Rock

Dir: Clio Barnard

Starring Ruth Wilson, Mark Stanley, Sean Bean

Here’s a switch up – a Sean Bean film in which Sean Bean doesn’t die! Because he’s dead already.

Clio Barnard’s latest is a distinctly overwrought drama that sees sheep sheering Alice (Ruth Wilson) return to her family farm in Yorkshire, following the death of her father and her absence of the previous fifteen years. And it’s grim oop North indeed. Back on the farm, Alice finds her brother (a frankly annoying Stanley) teetering on the edge of, well, just about everything, and the place awash with rats and ghosts both, the ghost of her father (Bean) in particular.

As the story slowly – very slowly – unfolds we learn of how her father sexually abused her as a child (one good reason to go AWOL for 15 years) and as Alice tries to make a go of the farm, the events of her past seem determined to thwart her at every turn.

Barnard seems more concerned here with capturing the sights and almost breathing sounds of the Yorkshire countryside than she is with any strong narrative. What story there is here feels remarkably familiar with little to offer in terms of characterisation, leaving all its central characters as mere cyphers, even Alice, despite so very strong pained expressions from the usually reliable Wilson.



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