HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
   
 
Newest Articles
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
   
 
  Gwen A Child's Nightmare In WalesBuy this film here.
Year: 2018
Director: William McGregor
Stars: Maxine Peake, Eleanor Worthington-Cox, Richard Harrington, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Jodi Innes, Gwion Glyn, Mark Lewis-Jones, Dyfrig Evans
Genre: Drama
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Nineteenth Century Wales, and in this countryside community Gwen (Eleanor Worthington-Cox) lives in a farmhouse with her mother Elen (Maxine Peake) and younger sister Mari (Jodi Innes), just the three of them there now the man of the house, Gwen's father, has gone off to war and has been away for some time now. Although the remaining family feel the strain, she tries to be upbeat and make time for play with her sister, though her mother disapproves of frivolity, especially when it comes at the expense of getting the dinner on the table in the evening. But there are outside forces pitting themselves against them, suspicious and superstitious ones, fuelled by big business...

You know those old Westerns where the homesteaders have to fight for survival against the interests of companies worth millions that want to secure their land and if waving money under the settlers' noses won't work, they will turn to more extreme methods to ensure they get their way? Well, imagine one of those set in Wales of over a century ago, and for the homesteaders there is no help anywhere to be seen for them, as the businesses clamp down on anything that might offer succour and control the opinions of the locals to manipulate them to believe the worst of the folks who are a thorn in the side of the company men - and they are men, make no mistake about that.

The matter that these are three female characters trying and struggling to stand up to the might of male supremacy would not be lost on the viewer, and that appeared to be an entirely conscious decision. Writer and director William McGregor, graduating to his debut feature after a few years of television episodes (he had helmed an instalment of His Dark Materials after this, for instance) was more than an "On your side, sisterhood!" bandwagon-jumper, as there was clearly a deeply felt sense of injustice that was not only present in the drama, but also intended to be brought out in the audience as well, so much so that many viewers found the experience, frankly, too gruelling.

There was an unforgiving quality about the starkness of the imagery, yes, the Welsh landscape could be very beautiful, but that was not perhaps uppermost in the minds of those involved with this film, as they used the hills and valleys in a manner that suggested anyone getting by here was doing so more by good fortune than any innate ability to survive, or even prosper, in those windswept and rain-lashed conditions. If you were not sympathetic to the overwhelmingly bleak atmosphere, Gwen could quickly look to be teetering on the edge of self-parody, as any smiles we saw here would be tinged with sadness or vanish from the faces when they remembered the dire situation they were in: practically the first scene has the heroine and her sibling's games interrupted by the sight of a nearby family wiped out from cholera.

Not a barrel of laughs, then, but if you liked to indulge yourself in a real miseryfest - and some people do - then this was the film for you as McGregor danced around horror movie visuals to underline how awful all this was, about as far from a Welsh Tourist Board advertisement as it was possible to get. Though Gwen represented a modernity in that she was reluctant, or outright refused, to take part in the savagely unsentimental activities that would ensure survival and was optimistic her family could continue to live in their cottage despite the outside world closing in with unstoppable and harshly affected power, the resolution was both open-ended and about as lacking in sentiment as the director could make it. If this comes across as perversely unenjoyable, McGregor had the benefit of Peake and Worthington-Cox's accomplished interplay which kept things compelling, a complex mother-daughter bond one wanted to strengthen with love and the other wanted to strengthen by toughening up her daughters. Music by James Edward Barker.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 591 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: