News: Please be patient while modifications are made to the new themes to add in familiar menus and features.

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
 

Author Topic: Dark River reviews  (Read 1087 times)

Offline patch

  • News Hound
  • Ulric's Lady
  • *
  • Posts: 15201
Re: Dark River reviews
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2018, 03:25:05 PM »
Movie Review: ‘Dark River’: A Sheep-Farm Murder Ballad
Quote
1h 30min  | Drama, Mystery, Thriller | June 29, 2018 (USA)

Alice (Ruth Wilson) grew up on a Northern Yorkshire sheep farm. Now, she’s seeing the world via the international sheep-shearer circuit—lots of sweating, bleating, b-a-a-a-h-ing, and cascading wool.

Then, news that her father (Sean Bean of “The Lord of the Rings”) has gone to meet his maker. Home she goes, 15 years after fleeing the run-down mud pit of a farm, where her older brother Joe (Mark Stanley), who’s been holding down the fort all the while, resents the heck out of her prodigal-daughter return. Even more vehemently, he resents her attempting to claim the land that has been bequeathed to her.

 It’s a sibling rivalry outstripped only by Cain and Abel. Joe’s let the walls fall in and the sheep go ragged. He refuses to kill barn rats because an owl family has taken up residence. He won’t let Alice cut the fields because he’s grown to cherish nature and can quote the exact numbers (in thousands) of insects, mice, voles, and spiders that would lose their homes in the fields.

Almost Needs Subtitles

The thick Yorkshire accents are just about as difficult to understand as French, and yet once the ear acclimatizes, you feel you’re having an authentic foreign experience, being a fly on the wall of a little North Yorkshire slice of sheep farmer existence. You go to auctions, and listen to brother-sister disputes on whether to spray the sheep or dunk them in a shallow well of disinfectant. Joe’s been dunking for 15 years, so they dunk, because Joe’s a big alcoholic, rage-aholic man by now.

We watch Alice talk to the tenant land trust that owns the farm. We watch her rekindle an old flame in a bar. Watch her skin and clean a rabbit for dinner. I doubt very much that it was a politically correct fake movie rabbit, but Alice is so fluidly familiar with the process, one wonders how much actual skinning Ruth Wilson had to do, to learn to make it look so realistic.

One also wonders why on earth Alice would want this gray, perennially cloud-covered, desolate, wind-swept, sheep-bleating, dog-barking existence, haunted as it is by nightmarish, shame-ravaged memories.

The duration of her teen years were poisoned by patriarchal incestuous rape, and no amount of waterfall showers at the local swimming hole can cleanse those memories away. It’s a jarring juxtaposition of “There’s no place like home” and “You can never go home again.”

Spectacular Acting

Director Clio Barnard, having such skilled actors at her disposal, basically just turns them loose and lets them do their thing. Wilson’s fascinating face lets you read her thoughts, and Stanley (“Game of Thrones”) rages masterfully, allowing us to see the subtlety of how he himself was damaged, and where the source of his drinking lies.

The feeling one leaves with is depression. And the question inevitably becomes—why tell such a story? We know the world is full of bad things; we don’t need to be reminded. The main mission of art is to uplift, but if depression’s your thing, and you want a good dose of it, this is surely a beautiful way to go about getting it.
 
https://www.theepochtimes.com/movie-review-dark-river-a-sheep-farm-murder-ballad_2572344.html

Offline patch

  • News Hound
  • Ulric's Lady
  • *
  • Posts: 15201
Re: Dark River reviews
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2018, 01:25:25 PM »
VOD film review: Dark River
Quote
Clio Barnard is one of the most exciting and talented British filmmakers working today. Dark River sees her move away from the raw naturalism coaxed out of non-professionals actors to work with recognised screen names, but the result has no less intensity or emotion.

Inspired by Rose Tremain’s book, Trespass, it stars Ruth Wilson as Alice, an estranged daughter and sister who moves back to her family farm after her father dies. Trying to reclaim the estate, while struggling to reconcile with her volatile brother (Mark Stanley), the stage is set for a 90-minutes drama as brooding as its gloomy title.

Indeed, the result is as much horror story as it is family drama, as the ghost of traumas past haunt Wilson’s expressions, as well as the harsh rural landscape. After The Levelling and God’s Own Country, Dark River completes an unofficial trilogy of bleak rural tales from the heartlands of Britain – a Gothic pastoral that conjures up an eerily empty house, harsh environments, pent-up emotions and barely buried conflict. At the core of it is the feeling of belonging on one’s own land, and it’s telling, perhaps, that this story should arrive as Britain ponders and negotiates its own future.

Here, that takes the form of Alice and her brother deciding the fate of the farm – a decision they clash over, their opposition fuelled by the unspoken resentment over the fact that she left years ago and he stayed.

Barnard is an expert at drawing strong, evocative performances from her cast and that same understated pain and vulnerability is unabashedly on display from both leads. Stanley, who plays Grenn in Game of Thrones, is genuinely intimidating – only beaten by Sean Bean, whose traumatic father figure lingers in unspoken flashbacks. Wilson, meanwhile, sheers sheep like she’s been doing it for years, investing her resilient survivor with the kind of everyday realism that has singled out Barnard’s work from the pack in recent years. The result is a moving study of unspoken grief and aggressive denial, of violent memories looming over an isolated presence, and the strength it takes to steer the future out of its shadow.
 
http://vodzilla.co/reviews/vod-film-review-dark-river/?platform=hootsuite


Offline patch

  • News Hound
  • Ulric's Lady
  • *
  • Posts: 15201
Re: Dark River reviews
« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2018, 06:11:50 AM »
Film Review: Dark River
Quote
Dark River is going to require a whole lot of new synonyms for “bleak.”

It’s about incest, sexual abuse and their horrific after-effects. Its characters are marked by poverty, alcoholism and violence. It features gruesome closeups of dead animals, including the onscreen disemboweling of a rabbit. And it’s all set in the muddiest, most desolate part of Yorkshire, on a tumbledown sheep farm overrun with rats.

Don’t expect a Hollywood remake anytime soon.

Yet as much as you might want to look away from Dark River, you can’t. The direction is assured, inventive, precise. The performances are compelling. And while the writing is often a little too deliberately obscure, once it becomes clear where the story is heading, it moves forward with the force of classic tragedy.

Very loosely adapted from the Rose Tremain novel Trespass by filmmaker Clio Barnard—a gifted but freewheeling interpreter, whose previous The Selfish Giant had very little to do with Oscar Wilde’s fable—it begins in the midst of sheep-shearing season. Alice, an itinerant farmhand, has just learned of her father’s death. And so, with grim reluctance, she returns home for the first time in 15 years—to see her brother, Joe, and to claim the property she feels is rightfully hers.

Her brother has other ideas about who the farm belongs to; after all, he’s been running it since Alice abruptly left in her teens. But he’s also been running it into the ground. And as they fight, over everything—should the sheep be dipped, or sprayed?—Alice begins to confront her own horrible memories, of a father who crept into her bed at night, of a brother who did nothing to stop him. Or, maybe, even helped.

This is the grimmest of material, but unlike Tim Roth’s similar but shockingly explicit film The War Zone, Barnard chooses to keep the actual abuse in the past and offscreen. It’s there in glances—the way the father (a mostly silent, intimidating Sean Bean) stares at his daughter, the way the teenager (a painfully vulnerable Esme Creed-Miles) wilts under his gaze.

Bean is an imposing but fleeting presence, seen only by the adult Alice in flashes and flashbacks. She escaped him, long ago. But his horrors haunt her—so much that when she does return home, she can’t even go into her old room. She beds down instead in a half-abandoned hut. At least there, maybe, she can lock out the memories.

Ruth Wilson, a gifted British stage actress probably best known here for Showtime’s “The Affair,” does a great deal with very little as Alice. Barnard has, very deliberately, resisted the temptation to give her any big speeches, let alone a this-is-how-I-suffered monologue. Instead, Wilson is forced to speak to us through expression and movement—the way her eyes widen when she recalls another awful moment, the way she shrinks from her old home’s upstairs.

And her mostly silent mood is answered by her brother’s explosive ones, as he storms about the farm, often drunk, occasionally violent. Is he simply mirroring the behavior he grew up with? Or is he trapped inside himself, and with his own old disgust at what he did, or didn’t do? Mark Stanley—one of Bean’s “Game of Thrones” colleagues—leaves you wondering.

There is much else that is elliptical in this film, and its deliberate ambiguity may be too much for some audiences. (Some of the confusion may have come in post, too—judging by the credits, one character, the siblings’ mother, was eliminated at the last minute.) Another hurdle? The thick Yorkshire accents that, even for Americans used to British imports, are sometimes impenetrable.

But this is a film that, right from its opening song, sung by the great PJ Harvey, artfully takes you into a world of pain and despair. And yet, in its final moments, offers just the smallest promise of healing and hope.
http://www.filmjournal.com/reviews/film-review-dark-river



Dark River (NR)
Quote
Were it not crucial to Dark River’s sense of realism that it retain patches of dialogue — sometimes sparse, sometimes desperately overlapping — Clio Bernard’s psychological drama could have worked without words. Part of this stems from the fact that the story is fairly rote, as Alice (Ruth Wilson) returns home to the family farm after the death of her father and is forced to unearth the familial traumas that she has tried to keep buried. But it’s more to do with how superbly writer-director Barnard has tied it all together. Ghosts flash in and out of Alice’s vision as easily as the living, and a recurring motif of water — Alice’s swimming; emotional highs accompanied by torrential rain — seems to drown the characters rather than wash their baggage away.

It’s in Alice’s battle with her brother Joe (Mark Stanley) that the film is at its most compelling. He’s reluctant to hand over the land, given the fact that he’s been taking care of it (and their father) for a decade and a half in her absence, and Wilson and Stanley swing from tenderness to rage without making either seem forced — or at all predictable. As the latter emotion inevitably builds, Dark River loses some of its certainty to the demands of telling a story with a beginning, middle and end, but the final scene, which relies almost entirely on expressions rather than words, is almost enough to make up for it. 
http://www.laweekly.com/movies/dark-river-9511736



« Last Edit: June 27, 2018, 01:24:14 PM by patch »

Offline patch

  • News Hound
  • Ulric's Lady
  • *
  • Posts: 15201
Re: Dark River reviews
« Reply #23 on: June 28, 2018, 12:24:41 AM »
Dark River
Quote
Alice is played in flashbacks by Esme Creed-Miles and in the main body of the film by Ruth Wilson, both of whom are extremely good. Quite aside from her emotive power (and sheep-shearing skills!) Wilson deserves credit for pulling off a flawless West Yorkshire accent, one that doesn’t sound affected when placed alongside natives like Sean Bean and Mark Stanley, the latter of whom comes close to stealing the whole film as Alice’s violent, troubled brother Joe. As for Bean, his role promises something to match his extraordinary recent television work for Jimmy McGovern (Broken) and Tony Grisoni (Red Riding), but it seems to have been cut down too much in the edit. Furthering this suspicion, the end credits mention a role for Una McNulty, who doesn’t appear in the final cut at all.

Despite these problems, Dark River is a visually striking film that’s confident enough to make you forget the risks Barnard is taking here. It is, after all, her most plot-driven film to date, and her first to feature big-name actors. She appears totally unfazed by both of these challenges, enough to make me suspect Dark River‘s weaknesses will be seen as a stumble in her career rather than a fall. There are signs, certainly, that this new wave of British rural drama might already be developing its own cliches: the farm full of dark family secrets, the townie-baiting scenes of animal slaughter. But Dark River also contains some truly refreshing, unique material, from the haunting underwater footage to PJ Harvey’s plaintive rendition of the English folk song ‘An Acre of Land’, which begins and ends the film.
 
http://thegeekshow.co.uk/2018/06/26/dark-river/


Review: A ‘Dark River’ of Abuse Separates a Brother and Sister from Their Inheritance
Quote
The Yorkshire depicted in Clio Barnard’s third feature, “Dark River,” has much in common with that of Francis Lee’s recent triumph, “God’s Own Country”: a place of hard labor and lowering skies, of bleating sheep and repressed sexuality. Yet even in the swelling canon of British rural miserabilism, this unrelentingly intense psychodrama burrows beneath the skin.

Much of that is due to Ruth Wilson’s tough, traumatized performance as Alice, an itinerant sheep shearer who returns home to claim tenancy of the family farm. Fifteen years have passed, and her estranged brother, Joe (a fine Mark Stanley), who nursed their terminally ill father while the farm crumbled around them, is not having it. He might be a bitter drunk — and the farm, under his stewardship, a vermin-infested husk of the smallholding Alice remembers — but he feels equally owed his inheritance. And, unlike Alice, entirely unable to share it.

Gorgeously photographed by the Brazilian cinematographer Adriano Goldman, “Dark River” is a raw ballad of doom and damage. As in Ms. Barnard’s first feature, the 2011 experimental documentary “The Arbor,” it broodingly excavates the lingering grip of childhood abuse. Economic anxieties press in from outside, but it’s the farm’s fusty interiors, where every cranny conceals a flinching flashback, that spark Alice’s worst memories. As the ghost of her father (indelibly played by Sean Bean) slips in and out of the frame, she turns from steely survivor to terrified child. It almost hurts to look at her
 
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/28/movies/dark-river-review.html



Sibling rivalry simmers in the film Dark River
Quote
Ruth Wilson (Luther, The Affair) is on blistering form as tenacious farm worker, Alice, whose suffering is swallowed down in difficult silences and emotional distance. After the death of her father (Sean Bean) Alice returns home to apply for the tenancy of the family’s farm against the wishes of her long-suffering brother Joe (Mark Stanley) who nursed their sick father while keeping the farm barely afloat. Their taciturn exchanges are compelling in their awkwardness - tension seeping out from the unsaid until it boils over into physical conflict. Barnard’s dialogue is breathtakingly real: the first encounter between Alice and Joe in 15 years veers from cumbersome small talk to long held grudges and potent questions. The naturalistic performances of Wilson and Stanley draw attention to what is unspoken and suppressed. Together they bring emotional gravitas even to the film’s smallest moments. Dark River is a drama about secrets and silence and the damage caused is pervasive. Flashbacks are notoriously tricky to pull off but Barnard (The Arbor, The Selfish Giant) weaves them into the action with unrivalled lightness and subtlety as Alice’s traumatic past intrudes upon the present. A sinister Sean Bean continues to lurk in Alice’s life to such chilling degree that we begin to feel him pressing in at the very edges of the frame. In light of this, the way Alice mobilises her inner strength to try and rebuild her relationship with Joe - a relationship that seems fundamentally broken - makes for both hopeful and painful viewing. Attempts to save the crumbling farm begin to stand for something much more profound.

The harsh realities of agricultural work form the brutal and raw backdrop to this unfolding drama supported by British stalwarts Film 4, Screen Yorkshire and the BFI. The complexity of tenantfarming and the conflicts between financial survival and respecting the natural landscape filter into the very essence of the story. Physically and emotionally, Dark River, is rooted in the Yorkshire landscape. Its atmosphere makes for heady and potent drama.
https://www.derbyshiretimes.co.uk/whats-on/sibling-rivalry-simmers-in-the-film-dark-river-1-9225422

 



‘Dark River’ Review: A Tired Drama that Lives Down to its Name
Quote
Most everything about Dark River feels tired.

The narrative around a taciturn woman who can skin a rabbit without flinching but is also fundamentally brittle is tired. That all we see her do for 90 minutes is react to the decisions made and actions taken by the men in her life is tired. Even the title is tired, with all the vivacity of a generic production placeholder (it’s literally being released on the same day as a film with the synonymous title Black Water).

The cinematography, too, has a lackluster lethargy to it, using the austere bucolic majesty of Yorkshire as a crutch. As films like last year’s The Florida Project have demonstrated, in skilled hands cinematographic beauty can be found just about anywhere, but Dark River is a data point from the opposite end of the spectrum. Shots more often than not give the impression that a camera was plopped in the corner of a field and pointed at the actors with a shrug and a “that’ll do.”

There are some welcome exceptions, like a handful of sequences with decidedly fetal imagery—again, perhaps a somewhat overplayed hand, but beautiful nonetheless—but these are unfortunately the exception as opposed to the rule. Like many things about the film, the end result, visually, is not genuinely bad so much as just fine, but coming from an accomplished cinematographer such as Adriano Goldman, whose credits include Cary Joji Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre and six episodes of The Crown, one expects so much more.

Ruth Wilson and Mark Stanley preform admirably as estranged brother-sister pair Alice and Joe, vying for the tenancy of the family farm after the death of their father, but in the end more is placed on their shoulders than perhaps any actor could successfully bear. Dark River was loosely adapted from Rose Tremain’s novel Trespass, and that the film is based on a novel that relies heavily on literature’s particular affinity for exploring interior lives—widely regarded as a particular weakness of film as a medium—is evident throughout. The basic cinematic translation of an interior monologue that a book could fully detail is a long take of an actor looking troubled. Far too often Dark River falls into the trap of films happy to leave things at this bare minimum, as if under the impression that if an actor acts hard enough, for lack of a better phrase, they can somehow telepathically broadcast their character’s thoughts to the audience. Ultimately, there is a fine line between being ambiguous, which is the degree of uncertainty inherent to the fundamental ability to ever truly enter the mind of another person, and opacity, which is staring at an actor staring into space.

On the supporting front, Sean Bean makes for a properly menacing “ghost” as Alice and Joe’s abusive father, Richard, in elegantly integrated flashbacks. If there is one regard in which Dark River excels, it is in editing. Flashback sequences intercut past and present seamlessly in a way that feels utterly natural—a feat which looks effortless when pulled off, but that relatively few films successfully accomplish, especially considering the frequency with which films utilize flashbacks. Ironically, an element that in many other films represents a weak point is one of Dark River‘s strengths, of which there are unfortunately few.
 
https://filmschoolrejects.com/dark-river-review/



Dark River
Quote

METASCORE
 Generally favorable reviews 
based on 20 Critics
http://www.metacritic.com/movie/dark-river/critic-reviews



« Last Edit: June 28, 2018, 09:29:20 AM by patch »

Offline patch

  • News Hound
  • Ulric's Lady
  • *
  • Posts: 15201
Re: Dark River reviews
« Reply #24 on: July 03, 2018, 10:41:15 AM »
Dark River (2017) Blu Ray & DVD (Arrow Academy)

Well-made gloom porn
Quote
The film does end on a slightly redemptive note. However, it isn’t enough to shake the overall impression that it’s all a large dose of artistically-mounted gloom porn rather than the truly explorative piece of work that it might have been. 


Extras
Director and Cast Interviews
Quote
Sean Bean (understandably) appears a little uncomfortable and humbled while talking about his role as the sexually abusive father. 
http://cinemasfringes.com/dvd-blu-ray/?post_id=493&title=dark-river-(2017)-blu-ray--dvd-(arrow-academy)

http://seanbeanonline.net/forums/index.php?topic=5402.msg120625#new

Offline patch

  • News Hound
  • Ulric's Lady
  • *
  • Posts: 15201
Re: Dark River reviews
« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2018, 01:16:46 AM »
Quote
Sean Bean's charisma gives life to the character of the executioner from the past that Barnard evokes more than it shows.  No need to dwell on what happened and to show it very explicitly when everything is viscerally felt in Alice's eyes.   
https://translate.google.nl/translate?hl=nl&sl=fr&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fleschroniquesdecliffhanger.com%2F2018%2F07%2F06%2Fdark-river-critique%2F

Offline patch

  • News Hound
  • Ulric's Lady
  • *
  • Posts: 15201
Re: Dark River reviews
« Reply #26 on: July 08, 2018, 04:02:26 AM »
Quote
This film is both disturbing and beautiful.  It's very emotional.
 A very human movie at the bottom.
 Not necessarily for all audiences but a beautiful film anyway ...   
https://translate.google.nl/translate?hl=nl&sl=fr&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Funificationfrance.com%2Farticle52979.html