Britain's 'kitchen sink' cinema finds dark new twist

Tue Oct 8, 2013 7:49pm EDT
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By Patrick Graham

LONDON (Reuters) - British director Paul Wright's new film "For Those in Peril" pans across a dour Scottish coastal town where madness, tragedy and a feared sea monster lurk close beneath the surface.

It's a dark tale, typical of a new generation of filmmakers like this year's Oscar hopeful Steve McQueen, who are taking Britain's tradition of gritty "kitchen sink" cinema in a stark and sometimes strange direction.

British actors and talent are a familiar sight at the Oscars and on big Hollywood movies, but more artistically challenging, homegrown projects have generally struggled to make waves, even in more accessible European markets.

That is changing, with a rash of new works a world away from mainstream cinema's depiction of affluent, London-centric life, typified by Hugh Grant and Richard Curtis's romantic comedies "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Notting Hill".

McQueen, who debuted with his story of the 1970s Northern Irish prison hunger strikes "Hunger", and contemporaries like Shane Meadows, Ben Wheatley and Lynne Ramsay have a very different take on life in the United Kingdom.

Wright's hero Aaron, the only survivor of a fishing accident that drowns five young men off Scotland, is steadily alienated and brutalized by the rest of his small village.

Desperate, guilty and unable to remember the accident, he becomes convinced his brother and the other dead were swallowed by a sea monster.

Like Scottish-born Ramsay's "We Need To Talk About Kevin", or Wheatley's 2011 horror movie "Kill List", Wright gives a tale that might sound ludicrous or extreme roots with his realistic evocation of the setting - in his case Scotland's cold, austere and Presbyterian east coast.   Continued...