Film Review – The Levelling


qmunistars- 4

In association with the GFT

Ellie Kendrick of Game of Thrones and The Diary of Anne Frank stars in The Levelling, written and directed by Hope Dickson Leach.  Kendrick plays Clover, a young woman called back to her farm after the death of her brother Harry, which may or may not have been a suicide.  Struggling to balance the failing farm and the already tense relationship between her and her father Aubrey (David Troughton), Clover is forced to confront her own grief and sense of place.

A self-contained and arguably unconventional premise for a film, The Levelling benefits significantly from solid performances; a huge plus considering there are very few characters.  The dynamic between Kendrick and Troughton is one that’s bathed in intensity.  Both of them give grounded performances as characters who aren’t the easiest nuts to crack.  We learn bits and pieces of their history and personalities as the film goes on which adds to the central mystery of Harry’s death and intertwines with their respective feelings of guilt, grief and confusion.  These make for quite tragic characters who we end up feeling as though we get to know personally, anchored by such accomplished performances from Kendrick and Troughton.

But the real star of the film is writer/director Hope Dickson Leach.  Capturing the film through gorgeous cinematography, Leach’s writing creates a realistic vibe to these characters and this situation with the usage of handheld camerawork creating the impression that we’re in the room as the mystery surrounding Harry’s death begins to unravel.  There are instances of shaky cam that are very infuriating but otherwise Leach’s direction and well-paced writing successfully captures and drives home the film’s themes on how one copes with grief and manages their own inner demons.  This makes way for a film that’s poignant, well-crafted and extremely atmospheric.

The Levelling is an ambitious, gut-wrenching debut for Leach.  It’s powered with strong performances and superb direction that makes the audience seem as though we are eavesdropping on the lives of the characters, whilst assisted by the film’s sense of setting via gorgeous cinematography and the Somerset landscape.  This is a film that acts as another great example of what modern independent filmmakers have to offer.  Definitely worth a watch.

This film will be screened at the Glasgow Film Theatre from the 12th to the 18th of May, tickets are available here: http://glasgowfilm.org/shows/the-levelling-15

The GFT also offers a free 15-25 discount card for students, available here: http://glasgowfilm.org/plan-your-visit/memberships/15-25-card

[Calum Cooper] 

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