days of the magnold summer

★★★

director: simon bird (debut)

starring: earl cave, monica dolan, elliot speller gillott and tamsin greig

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

A teenager spends his summer listening to heavy metal music and trying to get along with his librarian mum.

On first glance The Quarry, a slow, dark drama exploring the consequences of sin, may seem a strange choice in these times where we all need a little cinematic pick me up. But The Quarry has searing performances from its two leads and gives us plenty to ponder. 

 

After murdering a traveling preacher, a fugitive drifter arrives in a small town and poses as the man he killed. Though the congregation loves the drifter’s sermons of forgiveness, the local police chief, the drug-dealing brothers caught in the chief's crosshairs and the mournful woman who keeps up the church grow suspicious of the man. Soon a gruesome discovery at a local quarry forces the killer to fight for his freedom.

 

The Quarry is a classic slow burner. There isn’t anything incredibly ‘flashy’ about the narrative structure, there are no epic action set pieces or beautiful, lavish or exotic vistas to take in. This is a bare knuckle, gritty drama. 

 

And the way the story plays out is intriguing and entertaining in equal measure in spite of a few slight plot holes or leaps that we have to make as an audience. The themes that are explored around faith, sin, forgiveness and ultimately redemption are done in such a way that it will satisfy the faithful and the skeptic all in one. 

 

Shea Whigham and Michael Shannon are a couple of character actors who you will recognise but can’t always put a film or TV show to the name. Here, in bigger roles, their acting talent is allowed more room to breathe and they both give superb performances.

 

The Quarry explores themes of sin and redemption in this gritty, bare knuckle drama that can be slow at times but the searing performances from the two leads is more than worth the watch.

★★★

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