SUNSET SONG (15)
SUNSET SONG (15)
Run time: 135mins
Director: Terence Davies
Cast: Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan, Kevin Guthrie
Synopsis: Set in a rural community, Sunset Song is driven by the young heroine Chris and her intense passion for life, for the unsettling Ewan and for the unforgiving land. The First World War reaches out from afar, bringing the modern world to bear on the community in the harshest possible way, yet in a final moment of grace, Chris endures, now a woman of remarkable strength who is able to draw from the ancient land in looking to the future
Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s classic novel comes to the screen in this long-awaited adaptation from acclaimed UK director, Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea, 2011; Of Time and the City, 2008; The House of Mirth, 2000; Distant Voices, Still Lives, 1998)
Sunset Song stars Agyness Deyn (Pusher, 2102; and the Coen Brothers’ forthcoming Hail, Caesar, 2016), Peter Mullan (Hector, 2015; Tyrannosaur, 2011; Neds, 2010; My Name is Joe, 1998) and Kevin Guthrie (Sunshine on Leith, 2013; The Legend of Barney Thomson, 2015).
Agyness Deyn as Chris Guthrie is a luminous presence in every scene, while Peter Mullan is a dominating figure as her despotic, abusive father. Kevin Guthrie plays the unsettled Ewan Tavendale, who enters into a doomed marriage with Chris.
Terence Davies’ film employs a harsh poetic realism to represent the themes of what is regarded as one of the most important twentieth century Scottish novels – the first part of A Scots Quair trilogy – which laments the devastation of war and pays poetic tribute to the endurance of the land.
Set in the rural north-east Scotland community of Kinraddie in The Mearns at the start of the twentieth century, the film focusses on the hard life of the young heroine Chris and her dysfunctional family. Locations in Scotland, New Zealand and Luxembourg have been chosen by Davies and are stunningly photographed by cinematographer Michael McDonough (Winter’s Bone, 2010; Albert Nobbs, 2011).
Sunset Song is emotional on an epic scale, deeply romantic at its core, foregrounding language, land, technological change and the Scottish character. Brooding over events is the spectre of the First World War, which at first is felt only from afar, but soon envelops everyone, bringing the rapid developments of the modern world to change forever this once isolated community.
In a final moment of grace, having endured the great hardships of her early life, Chris emerges as a woman of remarkable strength, due to her ability to draw from the ancient land.
Even at its running-time of over two hours, it often feels that many of the 1932 novel’s key themes and characters are skimmed over in Davies’ script, and the film is probably best enjoyed if you have never read the book or seen the landmark BBC Scotland 1971 television serialisation scripted by Bill Craig.
Images courtesy of Metrodome