Director: Terence Davies
Talent: Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan, Kevin Guthrie, Iain Pirie
Release Date: 4th December 2015
There isn’t much to enjoy in Terence Davies’ film adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gribbon’s novel about a young Scottish woman, Christine (Deyn), having an absolutely miserable time of it in the Calvinist, patriarchal countryside of her family’s home. Perpetually subject to the interests of men, Christine enjoys a brief early-marital sojourn out of the frying pan of her father’s tyranny before landing into the fire, as her husband (Guthrie) is enlisted for WWI and returns a changed, wrathful man.
Sunset Song plays out as a series of woeful cruelties and misfortunes, firstly within the family unit, lastly inflicted by the barbarism of capital’s Great War, but perpetually visited upon the lives of the women and children subjugated and marginalised by the system men nominally sought to defend. Unfortunately, Davies seldom moves beyond a banal, denotative filmic style, instead reclining into a grief that scarcely feels earned, lending proceedings and odd, bathetic tone. Lengthy and mediocre.
Words: Oisín Murphy-Hall