Ruth Wilson ("The Affair") stars in the latest from British filmmaker Clio Barnard (The Selfish Giant) as a woman returns home to her family's Yorkshire sheep farm and enters into a bitter dispute with her estranged brother in an atmospheric family drama about old wounds and bitter grievances.
"Dark River sensitively explores the way a traumatic memory can seep through a life in the same way that poisoned groundwater can taint a piece of land." Ruth Wilson - The Guardian
Grey, gritty pastorals, dark emerging clouds, and obscure undertones—these all exemplify the tense, sharp, and volatile film Dark River, a film about childhood abuse that reaches treacherously into adulthood. Ruth Wilson (Anna Kareina) is Alice Bell, a weary drifter who has moved from farm to farm through England's Yorkshire countryside as a sheep shearer. When Alice hears news of her father's sudden passing, she returns home to claim the house and property. Her irascible brother, however, Joe Bell (Mark Stanley), refuses to give up the land, spending much of his time in anger, drunk, and then angry again. While Alice does her best to work with her brother, unspoken differences between the two slowly begin bursting outward, causing intense sibling conflict. This rivalry between brother and sister is further exacerbated when Alice's past gradually comes to light: Alice was sexually abused by her father as a little girl; and Joe, her older brother, did nothing to stop it. Dark River is a vividly shot film that captures the haunting beauty of the Yorkshire countryside. It is, moreover, an intense film with two extraordinary actors playing two very broken characters who are plagued with ghosts from the past. It's a film that will get under your fingernails and deep into your skin, a film perfectly defined as a psychological-drama-thriller.
Known for her realistic yet lyrical style, Clio Barnard has become one of the leading forces in British cinema in the last decade following her directorial debut in The Arbor (2010). While an acclaimed filmmaker, she continues to teach at the University of Kent, assisting research students and founding a 12-week extensive program for aspiring directors.
Sponsored by KING 5
- Director: Clio Barnard
- Principal Cast: Ruth Wilson, Mark Stanley, Sean Bean, Esme Creed-Miles
- Premiere Status: Seattle
- Country: United Kingdom
- Year: 2017
- Running Time: 90 minutes
- Producer: Tracy O'Riordan
- Screenplay: Clio Barnard
- Cinematographers: Adriano Goldman
- Editors: Luke Dunkley, Nick Fenton
- Music: Harry Escott
- Website: Official Film Website
- Filmography: The Selfish Giant (2013); The Arbor (2010)
- Language: English
- Format: DCP
- US Distributor: FilmRise