WRECKERS (15): On Limited Release Friday 16th December
Wreckers is the first feature film written and directed by Dictynna Hood. It stars the magnificently-named Benedict Cumberbatch, and Claire Foy (last seen in the TV mini-series The Promise). They play the recently married Dawn and David, a couple who have returned to the latter’s childhood home in a bid to start off married life with the best of intentions and a fresh blast of idyllic rural air.
If you’ve ever seen Midsomer Murders you might be aware that life in the country isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; there’s usually a whole heap of secrets and violent tendencies lurking beneath all that tweed and church-fete action. Well this movie reflects this notion and then some, when a surprise visitor in the form of David’s brother Nick – a soldier who has been serving in Afghanistan – returns to disrupt the lives of the newlyweds who have up until now clearly been enjoying a drama-free life of choir practice and PTA meetings.
The arrival of Nick brings about a change in the well-spoken and seemingly gentle David; and the actions and hints dropped by the post-traumatic stress ridden soldier soon plant seeds of doubt in Dawn’s mind as to just how well she knows her husband.
The slow-burn of this film is where its magic lies, and it is through the gradually opening eyes of Dawn that the audience also attempts to piece together an understanding of what lies behind the hushed whispers and distraught looks. Nick, played by Shaun Evans is a charismatic and outwardly expressive man, contrasted against the almost self-conscious and quiet David. As revelations begin to unfold, it is impossible to know who to believe, and indeed where Dawn’s loyalty should lie.
Hood’s characterisation is engaging, portraying with subtlety the fragile nature of trust, and the ease with which disastrous decisions can be made. (Naturally, the country air also seems to be the catalyst for a bit of extra-marital activity.) With stellar performances driving the movie – Cumberbatch is particularly fantastic as the often fragile husband teetering on the edge of violent desperation – Wreckers is a creepy and sinister portrayal of a married couple driven to breaking point by their own burning secrets and suspicions. The setting of the English countryside makes for a perfect backdrop and amid the hazy wasp-filled air, the lines between truth and lies prove to be indistinct, creating a tension which makes for a dream-like and incredibly eerie experience.
An impressive debut by Hood, this is an intelligent and compelling film. Definitely worth a watch.