500 Days Of Film Reviews Drama, The Levelling, Starring Ellie Kendrick, David Troughton, and Jack Holden
After the sudden death of her brother Henry (Joe Blakemore), trainee veterinarian Clover (Ellie Kendrick) returns to her family's farm in Somerset. She is shocked at what she finds - her home is in a state of horrendous disrepair following 2014’s devastating floods.
Reeling from the tragedy, Clover has to face her estranged father, Aubrey (David Troughton), and confront him about the farm, the livestock and, crucially, the details surrounding Henry's violent death.
Is It Any Good?
The Levelling is an insightful portrait of grief. More specifically, Hope Dickson Leach's film explores the almost surreal time after the worst has happened - a time of painful reflection before the world expects you to move forward with your life.
This movie is also about a family’s failure to communicate. Clover cannot comprehend Henry’s shocking death. The brother that she knew and loved would not, could not have committed suicide. Looking to her father for answers proves fruitless - he insists on calling Henry’s death a “bloody stupid accident”.
As Clover tries to unravel the mystery of Henry's final days, she is forced to confront the pain of her own past and an overwhelming feeling of guilt at not having been there for her family.
The Levelling is a stunning film of quiet power - a film where every word matters and silence speaks volumes. We don’t need to be told about the pressures of running the farm or the impact of the floods. There is no exposition here.
Instead, the combination of Nanu Segal’s striking cinematography (making wonderful use of natural light), Tom Hemmings’ precise editing and Dickson Leach’s powerful storytelling enables us to witness the devastation, to feel the enormity of Henry's burden.
We also learn from watching Clover's reactions to her tragic situation. Ellie Kendrick is absolutely superb. Her nuanced portrayal of grief is haunting and completely convincing. It is heartbreaking to watch as Clover tries to reconnect with her father (a brilliant performance from David Troughton) - particularly given his complete state of denial.
However, Henry will not be denied - his presence is everywhere. He is a part of nature. He is the elusive and mysterious hare. He is Milo the family dog who Clover nurtures as a last connection to a brother she can no longer protect.
The Levelling is a powerful and moving debut from an exciting and impressive new director. Seek it out.
The Levelling was not given a wide cinema release. However, you can watch this film via Video On Demand services such as Curzon At Home and Amazon Video.
Have you seen The Levelling? If so, what did you think of Hope Dickson Leach’s debut feature?
Let me know by leaving me a comment in the box below. Alternatively, come find me on Twitter or Facebook!