Davies’ “Song” is a boorish adaptation of the 1932 classic novel.
Director Terrence Davies‘ SUNSET SONG (2015) film is an adaptation of Scottish writer Lewis Grassic Gibbon‘s classic 1932 novel of the same name. At the very least, the film provides audiences with spectacular visual backdrops, and extensive views of the Scottish countryside, where its focus mostly on one of the families that inhabit the small rural fictional community of Kinraddie, located in the North East of Scottland. The Guthrie’s, more accurately, Chris Guthrie (Agyness Deyn), a young woman who endures more than her fair share of things most girls her age shouldn’t. Unfortunate for viewers as well, who are incessantly reminded in the first hour of the film just how tedious life is on the farm with an iron-fisted father (Peter Mullan), an emotionally discontented mother, and an emotionally repressed older brother. It is wishful thinking that these persona dynamics together are enough to endure the hardships of Scottish rural life. Instead of intense performances by characters succeeding in difficult circumstances, the tale results as a product of untoward beliefs and desires.
In the years leading up to the first World War, the Blawearie farm wasn’t the most pleasant place to be for Chris as she struggles to find some form of happiness in the dysfunction that is her life. Her mother, Jean (Daniela Nardini), an emotionally unstable woman who watch while her son’s (Jack Greenlees) berated and beaten–the other times, chased around the bedpost despite her appeals to her husband the desire to not have any more kids. Chris, on the other hand, finds temporary solitude in the books she reads, and while she is away at school. It isn’t until Chris meets Ewan (Kevin Guthrie), son of a local farmer, that the film pacing seems to pick up, however, just as abruptly, veers off into the unforgivable premise it began with.
The picturesque backdrop relieves viewers of the irreparable life on the farm. With extensive camera views of the sun-kissed wheat fields and the noble greenery of the forest trees are later mimicked by the cold and barren winter season, the once golden fields replaced by winter white and snowcapped mountains. For it is the time of familiar abandonment of death and war, and with it breeds uncertainty. By the third act, I had hoped that the movie would manage to get beyond the superficial–that the film would be able to rescue itself somehow from its bleak narrative and finish in a resounding montage of vibrant character dramatics and memorable performances.
In the end, Davies’ tale was less persuasive and just as unimpressive. Deyn’s performance made it hard to empathize with her psychologically oppressive character point of view, so much so that it results in an irretrievable melancholy of staggering plot sequences.
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