The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael (18)

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The Independent Culture

The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael begins as an earnest lament for a post-industrial coastal town, where a schoolboy cellist is being drawn into crime by his drug-dealing friends. But after the plodding early scenes, it mutates into something bolder and more experimental.

The story wanders all over the place, like a dog chasing a scent around a park, and along the way it sniffs at every single issue on today's front pages, and pays homage to just as many films. The first-time director, 25-year-old Thomas Clay, is someone to keep an eye on. Robert Carmichael's two rape scenes may have had people walking out of last year's festival screenings, but there's more to it than that suggests.

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