Directed by Hope Dickson Leach
Somerset, England, serves as the rural backdrop for “The Levelling”, a raw indie drama set with gloomy tones and enclosing plenty of secrets to be discovered.
The film marks the directorial debut of Hope Dickson Leach, who besides writing the script, oriented the small cast with stalwart conviction, extracting the best of their qualities.
As a matter of fact, the film highly benefits from the acting skills of Ellie Kendrick, who plays Meera Reed in the popular “Game of Thrones”, and the veteran David Troughton, also a regular in television miniseries. They play Clover and Aubrey, respectively, estranged daughter and father who reunite again in difficult circumstances after many years without seeing or talking to each other.
After receiving the shocking news about her brother’s unanticipated death, Clover is forced to return to her father’s farm, which she gladly left when she was 18. Once installed, she gets disturbed with what she sees, finding not only a devastated place but also her aging father acting in a weird, almost indifferent way in regard to his son’s misfortune.
The way Harris died is not clear and that fact drives her to search almost compulsively for something or someone that could be related to the occurrence. He blew his face off with a shotgun while celebrating with his friends the transfer of the farm to his own name. Was this a terrible accident or a desperate suicide? Cleverly, Ms. Leach structures the film in such a way that what Clover knows is exactly what the viewer knows and thus, we are able to see and learn everything through the main character’s eyes.
While the evasive Aubrey seems just concerned in having everything ready to sell the farm, Clover tries to pull out answers from James (Jack Holden), Harris’ best friend and her father’s trusting cooperator. As the time passes, the turmoil lived in the past mingles with the numerous doubts about the present, pushing Clover into a strong emotional vortex that grows wider as the revelations surface.
“The Levelling” depicts the cruel side of life and confronts love and pride, family and individuality, persons and properties - all things in need of urgent leveling. It's a cheerless, violently emotional, and ultimately painful drama.
Leach cooks it slowly, addressing guilt, compassion, repent, and resignation with sagacious human tact. Will you be able to find a culpable character?