Cert 18 Stars 3
Maxine Peake has punctuated her acting career with socially aware films such as 2018’s Peterloo, so it’s easy to see why she was drawn to the role of a farmer’s wife experiencing a political awakening in this ideas-driven period drama.
Set during Oliver Cromwell’s controversial puritanical republican rule in 1657, Peake plays Fanny Lye, the abused wife of Charles Dance’s Shropshire farmer, who offers refuge to Freddie Fox and Tanya Reynolds, a naked, muddy and bloody pair of strangers who claim to have lost all their money and possessions to highwaymen.
It’s an act of conspicuous and self-serving piety which backfires disastrously as the freethinking attitudes and rapacious appetites of their guests reveal themselves in a candle-lit exhibition of sex, betrayal and violence.
Though the drama suffers from being stagey and speechy, the mist covered location provides the earthy power of a folk horror fairytale, and the performances full of conviction.
Plus anyone with a keen interest in the history of the Quaker moment will find their cup runneth over.