Based on the classic novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbon and brought to life by master director Terence Davies, 'Sunset Song' is an intimate epic of hope, tragedy and love at the dawning of the Great War. Set in the rural community of Kinraddie, Sunset Song is driven by the young heroine Chris and her intense passion for life, for the unsettled Ewan and for the unforgiving land. As the approaching war brings the modern world to bear on the rural community, Chris must endure against the hardships of rural Scottish life and draw strength from this ancient land.
I was looking forward to this, but it left me disappointed.
Apparently, the first time this book * was adapted, it was as a tv mini-series in the 70's. Having watched the film, the expanded tv format seems more appropriate. Too often, it feels as though we are watching a key scene from the book (or even two scenes combined). The story takes place over a number of years and some scenes are months apart. There is little to link the scenes together, and we are left to puzzle over the actions of the characters which seem out of character from before.
Another fault is the casting (not the acting). At the start of the story the central character is a schoolgirl of perhaps 14, by then end she is not yet 22. She is played by Agyness Deyn (with a Scottish accent which wobbles to say the least) who was 32 when the film was released. Both she, and the actor playing her brother are simply too old for the parts they play.
It's a huge shame, because when the film spends long enough on a subplot to let it breathe, it is excellent. A courtship and wedding are really well-done. But for the most part, it feels like a very long book has been excavated leaving just the core plot events, but the heart and lungs have been removed.