On a remote Scottish island in the '50s, minister Balor (Damian Lewis) takes out his frustrations on his wife Aislin (Andrea Riseborough). When a juvenile offender, Fionn (Ross Anderson) is sent to live with them, tensions rise.
Andrea Riseborough is magnificent in this eerie, beautifully shot drama.
Andrea Riseborough is magnificent in this eerie, beautifully shot drama that's enhanced by her sensitive turn as the sad, distant wife of Lewis'bible bashing minister. The few residents of the island are beginning to pack up their belongings and head to the mainland in search of work, leaving the passionately pious Balor bereft and angry. Seeking inspiration from the Lord, he makes increasingly irrational decisions while his quiet, pale wife tries to evade his wrath.
Even though Aislin barely speaks for much of the first act, the script, direction and performance signal her deep unhappiness and sense of longing.
Aislin's world brightens considerably when Fionn is sent to live with them. He's a bookish, polite hard-grafter who's dismissed by Balor on the grounds of his criminal past - but who awakens a complex mix of maternal feelings, sensuality and creativity in the preacher's wife.
What begins as a blood-boiling portrait of an abusive husband hiding behind his religion becomes a story of a hesitant connection between strangers brought together through circumstance. Anderson is strong, and while Lewis overplays it with a shouty, fire and brimstone turn, Riseborough's soulful turn holds the interest and helps build erotic tension. Unanswered questions abound but it's fun trying to figure out the answers in this impressive feature from Corrina McFarlane (Three Miles North Of Molkom).
Riseborough steals the show in a moody period drama loaded with atmosphere and tension