The Levelling



Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 92%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 49%
IMDb Rating 6.4 10 692


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July 18, 2017 at 02:38 AM


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1hr 23 min
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24 fps
1hr 23 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Corey James 8 / 10

Brilliantly atmospheric

This review of The Levelling is spoiler free

**** (4/5)

THERE ARE ONLY a handful of directors who have portrayed the true beautiful brutality of a British farmland society, a notable tick to The Witch which had a compelling story about a young witch it also had stunning cinematography - gloomy at times but thanks to this it captivated the beauty of it all. Once released it wouldn't take long for another director to follow in its footsteps.

These footsteps are followed by first-time writer-director Hope Dickson Leache, with her film The Levelling a stunningly brutal tale of a young woman who is forced to move back to her old life on a farm due to a hard loss in the family. It's hard to find an actor who can pull this off successfully, Leache found what she was looking for with Ellie Kendrick who plays her female lead, who also carries the film. Kendrick plays Clover Catto a young veterinarian trainee who is forced to live on a farm due to the loss of her younger brother, not too long after the floods of October 2014. As soon as she arrives at the place she hasn't been to in years, she feels a sense of hardship which, until her father Aubrey (David Troughton), arrives.

Dealing with him the man who told her to leave, to do what she wants at a young age, she hates him he plagues her with emotional torture and asks her to do work around the farm, this leads her to ask questions about what really happened to her brother. Aubrey calls it an accident; however, Clover isn't so sure, seemingly wanting to play detective searching for evidence around the site, putting her father's grief to the test. There's a heavy sense of guilt to him too, Clover takes this to her advantage and starts to surround him with questions - perhaps leading him to answer her.

Given Leache's direction, the film takes this all in hand captivatingly proving strength with its female lead but forgetting one initial detail - the cumulative impact. The Levelling gives us the emotional heft of dealing with death, a sense of place, and deep depression of older family members it's her father that feels the brunt of the grief, he always refers to better time and refuses to show emotion especially when Clover comes to the investigative moment that he may be involved. This is the main flaw.

A patchy flaw that's fixed by the film's nigh perfect premise, the flawless performances, the excellent screenplay and Leache's gentle, yet beautiful direction which flows. The Levelling isn't just one of the best debuts of recent years it's one of the best British films of recent years period.

VERDICT: Kendrick is fantastic in a toughly heart-warming British directorial debut, that's gently crafted by a pure modest scale of the countryside and a beautifully atmospheric tale.

Reviewed by Zippy-the-Incredible 5 / 10


Much like last year's Chicken, directed by Joe Stephenson, The Levelling is an unremarkable, highly derivative film that is beloved of posho film critics and journalists, but doesn't do anything we haven't already seen in films like HUD (a subplot, involving characters trying to sell infected cattle before they are diagnosed), IN THE DARK HALF (both are small budget British films about a young woman dealing with bereavement in a rural setting)or the E4 series, Glue (mystery surrounding the death of a young a rural setting). While it does have an eerie atmosphere, created by good uses of sound design and lighting, it's ultimately all for naught but making us feel sorry for repressed landowners. The plot is practically non-existent, the characterization is inconsistent, and the tone is perpetually miserable. It's saving graces are a great central performance from Ellie Kendrick as the laughably named Clover Cattao (Does Hope Dickson Leach know anyone outside of her own little, upper-middle-class bubble?) and the cinematography, which doesn't waste an opportunity to add some lovely nature shots.

Ultimately, it goes nowhere and the ending is basically someone patting themselves on the back for NOT going the cinematic route. But if the new generation of British filmmakers would rather make movies for critics, not audiences, there's not much point in bother with UK Indie films these days.

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