Director: D.R. Hood
Writer: Dictynna Hood
Stars: Claire Foy, Benedict Cumberbatch and Shaun Evans
I was lucky enough to go to the special screening of Wreckers at the Curzon Soho at the weekend with a Q&A afterwards (thank you for getting the tickets Mia!).
I was ridiculously excited about this as it was the second time in 10 days that I would be in the same room as Mr Cumberbatch himself! (I’d already been to the BBC Sherlock screening of A Scandal in Belgravia on the 7th December at the BFI).
I had only seen a few bits about Wreckers as I didn’t want to know the whole plot before I saw the film.
The basic plot is that Dave and Dawn (husband and wife) are living in the countryside doing up an old house in the village that David grew up in. Everything seems pretty idyllic and they are trying for a baby. At the beginning of the film, the couple are seeing a doctor to determine why they can’t get pregnant and are told that the results will take a few weeks. They carry on as normal and there are some wonderfully tender moments between the two relatively newlyweds.
Then, Dawn comes home one day to find a young man standing at the top of the scaffolding around the house. The young man, Nick, turns out to be David’s brother who is just back from war in Afghanistan. Dawn has never met him before and David seems shocked by his appearance when he comes home from work later.
All seems well until Nick starts sleep walking and having night terrors, a result of his time as a soldier. An amusing moment is when he first sleep walks and takes a cabbage out of the fridge before David tucks him up in bed with it!
As the film progresses, Dawn becomes increasingly uneasy about Nick’s presence but you’re never quite sure why. I thought that it was because she had never met him and as the film goes on, she learns more about David and Nick’s youth and their relationship. She begins to feel that she doesn’t truly know her husband. We find out that the boy’s father used to beat them and that Nick pushed his mother down the stairs when they were younger. We later find out that it was in fact David that pushed his mother, not Nick.
The film also brings in another couple from the village, Gary and Sharon, who both knew the boys growing up. The husband does not seem to be too keen on Nick at all and always seems to be finding a way to berate him whilst his wife seems all to keen on flirting with him.
David grows increasingly aggressive towards Nick over the course of the film which scares Dawn, leading her to tell David that he scares her and that she doesn’t really know him. The strain on the couple’s marriage increases, although there are still loving, tender moments between them.
At a picnic with the two brothers, Dawn and the two friends, David announces that Nick will be leaving soon, much to Nick’s surprise. Dawn then goes for a walk with Nick and Sharon. She loses them as they amble along and then finds a tree to climb. Whilst she is up in the tree, she sees Nick and Sharon having some extramarital fun close by and is obviously shocked.
David and Dawn go back to the doctor to get they’re results and it turns out that it’s not Dawn that is infertile. David then drops the bombshell that it’s him as a previous girlfriend who planned a baby with him could not get pregnant. Clearly this is news to Dawn, further confirming to her that she doesn’t truly know her husband. Following on from the visit to the doctor, Dawn ends up sleeping with Gary, so desperate is she for a baby and to get back at David.
At a barbeque at the end of the film, everything comes to head and to comes out that Nick has been sleeping with Sharon, there is a fight and Nick ends up leaving. Gary and Dawn’s secret however does not get discovered.
Dawn has the baby and David appears to be none the wiser. The films ends with the couple, with their baby, bumping into Gary and Sharon. Awkward pleasantries are exchanged where a look is seen between Gary and Dawn. David sees this and without speaking, we are left to make up our own minds as to what David is thinking. Personally, I saw that he confirmed what he had always suspected: that the baby isn’t his, although others may see something else. In my mind, Benedict is one of the masters at conveying a character’s feelings through his eyes alone.
This film is beautifully shot and uses the picturesque backdrop of The Fens to envelope the characters. I didn’t think that there was a massive amount of dialogue in this film but then there didn’t need to be. Most of the talking is done with looks and gestures from all the characters. Also, a lot is left up to the viewer to make up their own mind, which I found to be an added bonus. Like the moment that Dawn was in the tree seeing Nick and Sharon, the film made me feel all the way through that I was outside looking in. Sometimes that feeling made for slightly uncomfortable viewing like during the tender moments between David and Dawn. I felt that I wasn’t supposed to be looking but couldn’t help myself as I had to know more.
Claire Foy and Benedict Cumberbatch shone for me in this film, each turning in a brilliant performance. I really felt Dawn’s uncertainty about Nick, her growing unease about her husband and her heartbreak at his secret keeping. And Benedict was fantastic at making you swing between loving him and then loathing him.
This is a truly wonderful slice of British indie cinema and I urge you all to see it. It is on general release at the moment but only at selected cinemas. If you can’t get to a screen to see it, then you can download it at: http://www.curzoncinemas.com/film_on_demand/719/wreckers/