Posted Aug 31 2017

Una - This Well Acted, Well Intentioned Movie Doesn't Quite Rock

Dir: Benedict Andrews

Starring Rooney Mara, Ben Mendelsohn, Riz Ahmed

A very serious subject dealt with in a very serious manner, Una moves between involving performances and unnecessary longeurs that at times undermine what the film is trying to say.

Mara is Una, now in her mid twenties, but who as a girl, had a sexual relationship with her adult next door neighbour Mendelsohn and ran away with him – when she was just 13.

Now years later, he has done his time and reinvented himself. Until Una comes calling at his place of work…for what exactly, remains to be seen.

Director Andrews’ background is in Australian theatre, and this does at times feel very much like a two-hander, between the “abused” and the “abuser.” Andrews makes some good attempts at trying to make it feel more cinematic, making strong use of the empty expanse of the factory that plays home to the majority of the movie. Yet it always – inevitably – comes back to the interplay between the two leads, both of whom impress, even if their dialogue and gamut of emotions do at times feel stilted. Still, there’s an interesting discussion going on in all this on the nature of what distinguishes a paedophile from people who have made serious mistakes in their lives. Plus, Mara in particular keeps you uncertain of where it’s all headed.

Riz Ahmed though is sadly wasted, his role largely consisting of him walking through an empty factory shouting “Peter!”


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