Tom (Chris Langham) and Sophie (Amanda Hadingue) have an ordinary upper-middle-class British life; having raised two daughters to adulthood, they perhaps don't have much to say to each other any more, but they are rubbing along more or less comfortably, companionable at least in their care of their three-legged dog Boy. One afternoon, Tom is walking in the neighbourhood woods and comes across Blake (Colin Hurley), an apparently odd but gentle and perhaps sad man with some strange story-telling ways; on an impulse, Tom invites Blake home for tea, and he ends up staying for the weekend. At the end of which time, unfortunately, Blake has died at the family table; even more unfortunately, news of this gets out to the British tabloids, who accuse the family of being murderers. How they got to that point, and how to straighten it all out again, is the focus of "Black Pond." The story is told documentary-style, with the family members all being interviewed, along with family friend/kind-of mascot Tim Tanaka (Will Sharpe), himself rather confusedly in love with both daughters. As a result, we know at the beginning that Blake will be dead at some point. The way that events unfold is shown in flashbacks, while each family member has an entirely different take on what is going on and on who Blake is, as well. We never fully know who any of these people are, except that they are all quietly unhappy in that snarky, sometimes vicious British way. But they are all generally good people, with the definite exception of Eric Sacks (Simon Amstell), a self-styled "psychotherapist" whom Tim visits, only to be subjected to merciless, mean-spirited mockery. Only at the very end do we find out what really happened, and it turns out to be, in its way, rather beautiful.
This is a short film at 82 minutes; it's got a lot of biting dialogue that co-writers Tom Kingsley and Will Sharpe have honed to a fare-the-well, and the actors are quite wonderful, especially Langham as Tom and Hurley as Blake - there's a lovely, poetic sense of connectedness between these two men who have been strangers up until 10 minutes ago, and the two actors do a terrific job of bringing that relationship out. If you're not fond of British family (melo)drama, this might not be for you, as the marital relationship in particular is quite harsh and mean at times, but there's much to be said for the simple connections that are also present in the film; one wants to know how these people will be getting along 5 years down the road, or 10. I don't know if there are any release dates set for North America (the showing at FantAsia 2012 was the Canadian premiere), but it's well worth looking out for if it comes your way.
Comedy / Drama / Thriller
Comedy / Drama / Thriller
An ordinary British family and their friend are accused of murder when a stranger dies at their dinner table. Black Pond is an existential comedy drama starring two-time BAFTA winner Chris Langham and double British Comedy Award Winner Simon Amstell.
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April 17, 2019 at 11:27 AM