For many obvious reasons, and a few slightly baffling ones, London remains the focal point of English cinema. On the rare occasions filmmakers heads out into the ‘wilds’, it all tends to devolve into a mess of stereotypes and prejudice. Occasionally, directors have the vision and insight to see past these and produce something truly unique and moving. This is the case with Hope Dickson Leach’s The Levelling.
After learning that her brother Harry (Joe Blakemore) is dead, Clover (Ellie Kendrick) returns to her father Aubrey’s (David Troughton) farm in Somerset. Clover left home at eighteen and is just about to qualify as a veterinary surgeon. Now twenty-five, she returns for the first time to discover that the farm is still suffering from flood damage. Clover needs someone to blame for Harry’s suicide and her estranged father is a prime suspect.
The Levelling Is spellbinding British cinema. Hope Dickson Leach’s film is such a powerful piece of storytelling. Ellie Kendrick is an absolute revelation as the traumatised and lonely Clover; desperate for the love of her estranged father and to be able to return home. Jack Holden also impresses as Harry’s best friend James. The Levelling is one of the most impressive British dramas of recent times. It’s a riveting debut feature. Bleak, shrouded and yet full of hope.
The Levelling is out in cinemas from Friday.