The Levelling



Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 92%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 49%
IMDb Rating 6.3 10 1114


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July 18, 2017 at 02:38 AM


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1hr 23 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Lee Eisenberg ([email protected]) 8 / 10

there are only a few movies that make me feel as if I'm spying on the characters

"The Levelling" is one such movie. Shot in a naturalistic style, it truly feels as though you're learning more about this family than you should. It doesn't star anyone recognizable, giving a sense of realism. The young veterinarian's return to her family farm opens the door to multiple revelations not only about the recent tragedies, but about things that have been going on for a long time.

Only a few movies have been this much like a knife in the stomach. another was "The War Zone", about a family that discovers an ugly secret. I recommend both movies, and I'm eager to see Hope Dickson Leach's next movie.

Reviewed by rhondasmit 1 / 10


Just horrible.

When it comes to the factual... these people should not be allowed around animals. This is no way to run a dairy - or to treat a dog for that matter. Apparently they have never heard about basic biosecurity measures. Their milking parlor is filthy, they don't clean the teats properly, reuse wipes and dip cup, even though it is designed to be dumped/single use, and I shudder to think where the milk goes. Heck, TB is the least of their worries.

I have never encountered a dairy that didn't have a plan for the bull calves (even with AI and heifer-select semen you still get about 30% bull calves, you either veal out or sell to become hamburger steers). Since a calf is necessary to milk a cow, you are hoping for a heifer - true - but you take a bull calf. It is not a disaster, nor do you go shooting and burning it.

You cannot hide TB, since milk gets tested regularly (for antibiotics, somatic cell count and pathogens like TB). If your whole herd is infected, they have to be destroyed, true enough - but how exactly was the daughter's presence going to ward off a bacterial pathogen, apparently water borne? And why would she give up her future with a possible income-producing job to move back to a sinking ship, especially with a 'father' like that? And shooting infected cows long distance in the field, that is beyond stupid.

It is sad when a family or a farm fails, but in this case, it was a nasty family, with no redeeming qualities I can think of, a badly run farm, and they live in a country with a generous social net, or they could get a job. Sh*t happens, life goes on (or not, if you choose suicide). Also, why not burn the badgers? Just makes no sense.

On top of that there is nothing to recommend this film, the cinematography is apparently done by cell phone, blurry, jumbled, just plain bad, all the actors are difficult to listen to or look at, and there is no coherent story worth telling. And forget about a score. We turned on CC and the only comment my husband made was: "That's not music", when the subtitles indicated that music was playing.

Frankly, I hated that the daughter became infantile and called for 'Daddy' at the end, when the man was a waste of space, who insisted on dragging those around him down. He probably killed his wife too.

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.

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