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Film Editorial

gwen19.jpg Gwen

Director: William McGregor

Stars: Eleanor Worthington-Cox, Maxine Peake, Richard Harrington, Kobna Holbrook-Smith

Set in Snowdonia during the Industrial Revolution, writer-director McGregor’s feature debut is a social realist period drama with a supernatural undertow. Worthington-Cox is the titular teenager, struggling to get by on the plot of farmland she lives on with her younger sister and mother, Elen (Peake) – the latter suffers bouts of illness and epileptic fits. Their father is away at war. Gwen has arranged to secure some medicine for her mother with a promise to pay the local doctor (Holdbrook-Smith) and to add to their troubles, a local mining company are threatening the family in an attempt to force them to sell their land. Meanwhile strange visions and nocturnal visitations on the animals, suggest a supernatural force encroaching on their property. Worthington-Cox is great as the watchful Gwen, a young woman becoming increasingly aware that all is not as it seems, and the rugged Welsh environs are beautifully rendered by cinemaphotographer Adam Etherington. McGregor manages to evoke a low-key sense of dread and uncertainty, but is unable to tie the various threads together to deliver a compelling resolution.