DVD: Black Pond (15)


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The Independent Culture

Chris Langham excels as cowed Tom Thompson, a well-off family man who bonds with a damaged stranger, Blake ("Sometimes I just come here and cry"), by a peaceful pond.

Blake (Colin Hurley) informs Tom about the recent murder of a woman; Tom in turn invites the oddball around for tea at his dysfunctional family home. At first, Tom, his wife, Sophie (Amanda Hadingue, excellent), and Blake discuss loneliness, the couple's two spoilt daughters and the poetry of John Clare. Tom and Sophie like and tolerate their morose new house guest, even though tensions occasionally escalate – "You want me to put my poetry in the recycling?" – and Blake appears to be involved in the drowning of the family's three-legged dog. The couple need to express their stagnant, miserable marriage to someone, anyone. Blake hangs around for wine, plays tennis in the dark, larks about in the swimming pool until he finally snuffs it at their dinner table.

There's a frivolous subplot involving confused Tim (played by Black Pond's writer Will Sharpe) being in love with the Thompsons' two daughters and having to seek advice from a creepy shrink (Simon Amstell, effectively playing himself), but it's the dynamic between Tom, Sophie and Blake that really works here. Tom Kingsley and Sharpe's low-budget debut is haunting, moving and very funny.