Blu-ray Review: DARK RIVER

DARK RIVER was written and directed by Clio Barnard and stars Ruth Wilson, Mark Stanley, Sean Bean and Joe Dempsie.

Following the death of her father, Alice (Ruth Wilson) returns home to Yorkshire for the first time in 15 years, to claim the tenancy of the family farm she believes is rightfully hers. Once there she encounters her older brother Joe (Mark Stanley), a man she barely recognizes, worn down by years of struggling to keep the farm going while caring for their sick father. Joe is thrown by Alice’s sudden arrival, angered by her claim and finds her presence increasingly impossible to deal with. Battling to regain control in a fraught and fragile situation, Alice must confront traumatic memories and family betrayals to find a way to restore the farm and salvage the bond with her brother before both are irrevocably lost.

This 2017 dramatic thriller follows Alice who goes home after her father passes away. She’s been away for 15 years and the traumatic reasons why are revealed as the movie plays out. Once she arrives on the farm, her reunion with her older brother Joe isn’t the warm welcome most families would have and you can tell these two don’t click. It’s almost like the two don’t even like each other but they do make an uncomfortable attempt to be cordial to one another.

The thing is, Alice has come home to claim the family property as her own but Joe completely disagrees because he’s the one who stayed behind to take care of their sick father as well as keep the farm going as best he can. The two siblings already have a stressed relationship and disagree about what should happen to the farm but it gets much worse as everything plays out and things go from bad to worse. On top of this, Alice has some really dark memories that surface and remind her why she left home in the first place.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The Blu-ray disc is black and features the movie logo. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Dark River is definitely an acquired taste kind of movie because it’s not going to be for everyone. It’s a dark psychodrama that delves deep into this estranged woman’s uncomfortable past with her recently deceased father and how she deals with it once she reconnects with her older brother. There’s a lot of people out there who will be able to relate to the story because they’ve gone through this or something similar to it. The cast did a really good job with their characters and the director captured the dread and uneasiness that Dark River sets off. This character driven drama is also a depressing watch and sadly it doesn’t come with the happiest endings and that’s why I stated up top that it might not be for everyone. Dark River is now available on Blu-ray in the U.S.

Distributor: Film Rise

Run Time: 90 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.40:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The only Blu-ray extra is the Original Theatrical Trailer (02:04)

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