The Levelling (2017)

Image courtesy of: monterey media

This debut film from Hope Dickson Leach deals with the concept of suicide with courage, decency and realistic portrayal. Attached to such subject matter is the immediacy of grief, guilt and acceptance – we are taken on an emotional rollercoaster as the events leading up to the tragedy unfold. Clover (Ellie Kendrick) has lost her brother in a brutal manner however she wants to retrace what may have happened to cause her brother such distress.

Clover arrives at her father’s farm in Somerset, having not been present during the time of the floods in 2014 and it quickly becomes apparent that there are unresolved issues between father and daughter that go beyond the tragedy of the brother. Clover resents having been sent to boarding school after the death of her mother and feels closed out of the family affairs. She discovers the family farm had been passed on to her brother just before his death and this leads her curious mind to pose questions.

The father’s attitude towards his daughter is one of fondness and also hostility as he claims she always leaves and does what she wants. Clover is quick to defend her decision to study towards becoming a vet and in her own way is eager to please her father and we see this through her attempts at working hard on the farm and fulfilling a nurturing role towards him. We witness some tender moments between them when they find some old letters and objects which leads to them being almost close.

As the funeral draws near Clover makes some discoveries – the cattle are sick and sales have been cancelled. The future of the farm looks bleak. The father is crumbling internally and Clover is worried. We eventually witness her guilt exposed at not coming home during the flood period and this is touching as we see her vulnerable and looking to reach out towards her father.

Her father is a tough character but eventually circumstances lead him to reveal some of what went on before the tragedy and emotions are raw, despairing and essential. This film portrays imagery, which is very powerful such as Clover washing away her brother last drops of blood however there is a fragility and delicateness when we see scenic filming of birds and rabbits with sky and water being used to signify their struggle. The music of the film is at times piercing but cleverly encompasses the tension of the relations.

This film touches on some difficult subject matter but delivers an impressive performance from all actors. The devastation of the flood hits home hard and contributes to the impact of the film. It is powerful, emotional and dignified. Well worth the watch.

Video courtesy of: Monterey Media

The Levelling (2016)
The Levelling poster Rating: 6.3/10 (155 votes)
Director: Hope Dickson Leach
Writer: Hope Dickson Leach
Stars: Ellie Kendrick, David Troughton, Jack Holden, Joe Blakemore
Runtime: 83 min
Rated: R
Genre: Drama
Released: 24 Mar 2017
Plot: Somerset, October 2014. When Clover Catto (Ellie Kendrick) receives a call telling her that her younger brother Charlie (Joe Blakemore) is dead, she must return to her family farm and face ...
Paula Smith

Paula Smith

Writer at reviewsphere
Born in Strathclyde. Lived in Paris for ten years and fluent in French. Obtained level C1/C2 in French at the French Institute. Achieved an Honors degree in psychology through the Open University. Developmental psychology was my area of interest. Worked for two years with Barnardo’s taking care of vulnerable children. Currently work with an organization called ‘Community Links’. I visit elderly people who are isolated in the community to offer a friendly ear and some stimulation.
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