Directed by Hope Dickson Leach
From 12th May 2017
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
This far from being an idyllic portrait of life on a Somerset farm.
Instead it is a keenly observed view of what can be the uncompromising drudgery of struggling to make a living as a farmer. This situation is certain to get worse following the Brexit vote.
Director Hope Dickson Leach, in this her first feature film – she also wrote the script – vividly captures the pent up anger and frustration within most of the cast, with the help of outstanding acting throughout.
It is a sombre but atmospheric piece. Most notable are interludes of nocturnal creatures swimming in mud-filled waters and birds hiding in hedgerows, as well as the foreboding grey skies.
The film opens with Clover (Ellie Kendrick), who is training to be a veterinarian, returning to her father’s farmstead after hearing of the death of her brother, Harry.
It is set in the aftermath of the devastating floods that struck England in 2014. The consequences have left the land and the cattle livestock virtually worthless. The farm house itself was also badly damaged by the floods.
It soon transpires that Harry had committed suicide during the same night when he and his buddies had participated in a Bacchanalian celebration, after his father Aubrey (David Troughton, who gave a riveting performance) had handed over the ownership of the farm to him.
There is guilt aplenty within Aubrey for a number of different reasons. But also suffused with guilt is Clover, even though she wasn’t there when the tragic incident took place. But that is the source of her guilt.
There is a powerful and strained parent-offspring divide between the abrupt Aubrey and the confused Clover. At times there is outright hostility between them.
The final scene of the two of them on a rain-drenched field is almost eye- watering.