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Icy but beautiful
on 30 March 2015
This is a strange film: all atmosphere and characters, not much plot. The action takes place over a single day in deep winter in a small Scottish town and has four, mostly separate strands.
There is a mother and daughter whose relationship has frozen over, rather like the sea in the film. We watch that iciness begin to thaw.
There are two young lads playing truant from school. This is the most successful strand to the story for me. There's something genuinely touching about the mixture of child and adult in their behaviour and conversation.
There are two teenagers who begin a relationship. This is the least successful strand i think. The story of their blossoming love affair feels falsely heightened - an adult's nostalgia for adolescence, rather than the real, often messy and crude, thing.
And finally there is a strand involving two old ladies who make a hobby of attending funerals. This is a bit so-so, the kind of quirky-old-people story that seems to have been done to death.
None of the stories really go anywhere and in keeping with the winter setting the pace of the action is glacial; but that's partly made up for by the excellent acting. In the end though it's the bleak beauty of the cinematography that makes the most impression.