Starring: Claire Foy, Benedict Cumberbatch
D R Hood's debut drama investigates a troubled fraternal relationship with a sort of Play for Today intensity.
Benedict Cumberbatch comes through strongly as David, who's just resettled in his boyhood village with new wife, Dawn (Claire Foy), when his younger brother Nick (Shaun Evans) shows up, after a number of years in the army. The reunion, seemingly a happy one, soon reveals that something is amiss: Nick gets the screaming abdabs at night, while David has his own legacy of damage to unpack.
Stuck in the middle, Dawn watches aghast as their quiet Suffolk retreat turns into a domestic nightmare out of Strindberg. Hood is skilled at observing the emotional weather as it registers on faces, and at conjuring the humdrum pleasantries of rural life – choir practice, barbecues, long walks – with unspoken tensions thrumming beneath. The issue of what happened to the brothers in their youth (violent abuse appears to have been involved) simmers on the back burner, though the real question never gets properly answered: why on earth would David return to a place where he was so obviously unhappy? Good performances just fail to supply the vital jolt of energy.
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