Dark River (15)

Dark River (15)

Directed by Clio Barnard
Picturehouse, Liverpool
27th March 2018

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

There is very little dialogue in this atmospheric film which means you focus more on the natural sounds and pictorial beauty of the Yorkshire Dales, where it is set.

It is an unstinting and realistic view of the decline of the farming industry in the UK which, almost inevitably, will be further exacerbated once it is separated from the EU.

The focus of the story is the almost always simmering relationship between sister Alice (Ruth Wilson) and brother Joe (Mark Stanley) in relation to their rundown family farm, who have recently lost their father (Sean Bean).

Although set in contemporary times it could easily have been turned into a costume drama set in the 19th century.

After a long absence Alice has returned to where she grew up in and worked as a child following her father’s death. Incidentally, she is a dab hand at shearing sheep, which is depicted in the opening scene, working at another farm. Wilson actually learnt this expertise within a matter of a couple of weeks.

The reason for her long time away was the troubled and unsavoury relationship she had had with her dad.

When she enters the ramshackle farmhouse she is prone to seeing flashbacks of her past there.

Both Joe and Alice each want to take over the tenacy of the farm, while at the same time housing developers want to take possession of the land.

She believes the tenacy is hers to claim. But it is a bit odd, considering she has not stepped foot on the land for 15 years, while Joe has toiled away there during that time.

The dispute between the two rapidly deteriorates to the point of outright violence.

Weather plays a constant symbol, including the river where Alice used to swim, to the heavy downpours of rain that sweeps the land..

Perhaps it will lead, figuratively speaking, to the farm being washed away.

NERVE supports workers struggling for a living wage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Please answer this (to remove spam) *