Cert 15 82mins Stars 4
Pierce the swirling mists of this superbly crafted gothic folk story and you’ll discover a burning anger at the evils of empire building, making for an impressive debut feature film from writer and director William McGregor, who previously worked on TV’s Poldark.
The bleak majesty of rural Wales is as full of ghostly figures and wild axe-wielding women as Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, but the sinister and rapacious unseen forces affecting a family of women are not supernatural, but the economic exploitation of the industrial revolution.
Gwen is the teenage daughter whose father is at away at war and must help her mother in the running of their small impoverished sheep farm. Merseyside born Eleanor Worthington Cox gives a wonderfully plaintive performance in the title role.
Maxine Peake plays her mother with a grim and wounded ferocity and contributes to this being a far more gripping and politically biting experience than 2018’s similarly themed Mike Leigh period drama, Peterloo, in which she also starred.