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Us Among the Stones

A family clan gathers beside an ageing matriarch’s deathbed at her home on Dartmoor, but the conviviality soon gives way to the unearthing of long-buried secrets and resentments.

Dir D. R. Hood
Prod Thembisa Cochrane, Georgie Paget
With Laurence Fox, Anna Calder-Marshall, Raia Haidar
UK-Belgium
2019
95min
Prod Co Likely Story

Fraught brotherly ties and marriages founded on evasions – these were the themes of Dictynna Hood’s first feature, Wreckers (LFF 2011). Here she expands on that hothouse chamberpiece to bring us a scabrous family portrait, etched with the grubby specificity of a down-at-heel Chekhov production. Toasting old glories but also biting their tongues, this brood converge and play hide-and-seek in their ramshackle birthplace, knowing all the sore spots they could trample on if cornered. Hood uses wispy collage to intuit their peculiar past and lets all their tragic pretensions off the leash. A particularly British flavour bubbles up – acrid and amused. It’s down to the cast, especially an outstanding Laurence Fox, to make every glance a barbed arrow, tensed to retaliate.

Tim Robey

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