DARK RIVER

Cert 15 90mins Stars 4

A torrent of family grievances cascade across the Yorkshire Dales in this bitingly real rural drama. 

The death of a sheep farmer leads to his estranged daughter returning home for the first time in many years.

Isolated in the sodden and majestic landscape, Alice struggles with her brother Joe for legal tenancy and the legal, spiritual and moral ownership of the land, with tragic consequences.

Mark Stanley and Ruth Wilson are tremendous as the warring siblings, and a weathered Sean Bean appears in flashback as their tyrannical father.

Wilson’s talent and commitment to her role shoulders the film, in a role which must have as punishing to perform as it is to watch.

Mixing a fiercely clear eyed authenticity with echoes of Emily Bronte’s Wutherin’ Heights, this dark tale is full of slaughter, violence, abuse and alcoholism.

However writer and director Clio Barnard is careful to sow a seed of redemption to leaven the bleak tone.

 

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