Ward, an experienced writer/director of stage, radio and TV, displays a talent for literate cinema in his first film. Bored by her existence in rural Norfolk, 15-year-old Jen Cross (Chatton), daughter of a farm labourer, dreams of reaching the heights of passion with a pilot from the local American air base. Brought down to earth by fumbling sex with orphaned signalman Raif (Carter), Jen is later caught in the act by the Reverend Stonea (Warrilow). Her father Bernard (Scurfield), already angry at being sacked by landowner Alan Brandon (Howard) - a frustrated widower who adds to the indignity by employing Bernard's wife (Brown) as a cleaning woman - now sinks into a smouldering, jealous rage which hints at some darker family secret... Framing both the wide vistas and the claustrophobic interiors with a painterly eye, Ward coaxes sympathetic performances from a good cast. Occasionally, the inertia that afflicts the characters also arrests the flow of the narrative; but for the most part, Ward's direction and Ian Wilson's sublime photography capture the feel of a bleak fen country with just a glimmer of hope on the distant horizon.
You may also like