The Levelling review by Adrijan Arsovski - Cinema Paradiso
Whereas a film like ‘The Witch’ had a gloomy, depressing, and a mystical vibe to it, but still managed to become one of the most poignant supernatural/strange dramas in the last 10 years or so (according to my own axiological values), The Levelling follows its footsteps closely but omits the supernatural/strange part in favor of a more grounded approach about an estranged daughter and her nihilistic yet stoic father. Easily, The Levelling could’ve been ‘The Witch’ if said elements were introduced, but even without those elements of the strangely unexplained but surreal-ly real, the film still feels as if some major force acted upon these characters and drove their actions like a puppeteer its puppet. Finally, this was my long-winded approach of asserting that The Levelling is a surprisingly good film, floating and differentiating itself amidst the mediocre offerings that most other live features aspire to.
The Levelling is directed by first-time writer-director Hope Dickson Leache, and follows a young woman who must confront her past (both figuratively and literally) after a loss of life as occurred back at the family farm. The success of this premise rests hard in the hands of the actors and that couldn’t be different, so finding the proper lead I assume was one of the main concerns of the production team and director of the film. Thankfully, they’ve managed to find the perfect cast for this role, the undoubtedly talented and versatile Ellie Kendrick (Game of Thrones, Love Is Thicker Than Water), who owns this role and I can’t imagine anyone else in her stead now that better I think of it. And so, the plot thickens.
Kendrick portrays a young veterinarian who has no other choice but to return to her old family home after her brother has passed away. There awaits her father Aubrey (David Troughton) who seems like a different man after the accident that he so claims to his son occurred. However, Clover (Elle Kendrick) is not so sure, and she embarks on a self-imposed quest to find out what has really happened to her brother to possibly unravel the half-mystery behind his death.
In hands of a lesser director, this could’ve easily turned into a mellow melodrama without any sense of gravitas and potential real dramatic impact. However, Leache takes over and produces a sort of cathartic experience that many would find hard not to like, but even harder to fully appreciate. In a sense, this could be also said for the unravelling narrative in the film as well.
Finally, The Levelling is a masterfully done film, featuring an engaging story that would keep you glued to your, presumably TV screen, since I reckon most would not bother to see this at their local theaters. Don’t be that “most” and go see/rent this film.