Dark River

DARK RIVER PLAT D: Clio Barnard. UK..


DARK RIVER PLAT D: Clio Barnard. UK. 89 min. Sep 10, 9 pm, Winter Garden Sep 12, 3:30 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 Sep 17, 3 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1. Rating: NNNN


With The Arbor and The Selfish Giant, writer/director Barnard established herself as one of the most interesting talents working in the UK. Her new drama, Dark River, finds her in full control of her art, applying her incisive sense of character and place to a tiny drama about two people damaged by their youth.

Ruth Wilson (Luther) plays a Yorkshire woman who returns to her family’s sheep farm after the death of her father (Sean Bean, seen only in flashbacks) to find her brother (Mark Stanley) barely holding on – and refusing her offers of help. It’s not long before we understand that both of them are dealing with the trauma of their past – and not very well.

Barnard locks us into her characters’ lives so efficiently that dialogue is almost unnecessary Wilson’s coiled, wary physicality and Stanley’s inarticulate rage tell us everything we need to know.

Someone’s going to explode it’s only a question of who, when and how. Dark River moves inexorably towards that catharsis, pulling us along in its undertow.

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