Stars: Jude Law, Carrie Coon, Oona Roche, Charlie Shotwell, Michael Culkin, Adeel Akhtar
Sean Durkin’s long-awaited follow-up to his feature debut, 2011’s disturbing psychological drama ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ is an 80s-set depiction of familial breakdown with supernatural touches.
Law is Rory, a brash working class London boy who has made good as a trader in Wall Street. His wife Allison (Coon) runs a stable near their suburban home. They have two children, Sam (Roche), the cocky smart daughter from Allison’s first marriage, and Ben (Shotwell), Sam’s sensitive younger half-brother.
When Rory announces that he plans to uproot the family and go and work in London to take advantage of the opportunities Thatcherite deregulation has opened up in finance, Allison has reservations, but goes along with it out of a sense of duty. They move to a large 19th century spread in Surrey, but Rory’s plans don’t go as smoothly as planned and friction follows.
It’s exceptionally well-played, especially Coon as a woman who has curbed her own ambitions and gradually realises that her husband’s bullish optimism may belie serious problems, while cinematographer Maytas Elderly artfully closes in on his characters as their options begins to dwindle. But the stately pacing, predetermined character arcs and clinical, removed treatment of their plight renders this a challenging watch. The picture works best when it courts horror tropes as mother and children rattle around their ominous new abode a la ‘The Shining’. One sequence involving the ailing horse that Allison has had transported from the U.S. is genuinely unsettling and grim.
The Nest is released on 27th August
Follow David on @DWill_Crackfilm