Film - God's Acre

Gods acre

Steve Taylor-Bryant gets more than a foot on the property ladder as he watches God's Acre, on at Raindance Film Festival...

Sometimes at film festivals a movie comes along that you don't think much of from the press release or perhaps a poster and, I'll be honest, God's Acre didn't immediately jump out at me as a film that would stay with me for a long time after viewing. But it did. I've not seen all of the other films nominated in the Best UK Feature Film category alongside God's Acre but I'll tell you now, if I was a judge, it would be getting my vote.

The story starts off as a simple tale of spiralling debt crippling a mans ability to get on with his life but poor old Malcolm has more than just money issues. Finding clothes and ornaments hidden behind the walls of his last remaining property puts him on a path of despair as he tries to find out why the previous tenant killed his wife and child and vows to avenge them, a statement that concerns the kindly nurse who lives next door who gets the police involved. I can't really give you much more information on the plot than that without massive spoilers but the twists in the story payoff in spectacular style. I'd love to sit here waxing lyrical about the strength of the writing but God's Acre was more than just a really strong script. The dark and gritty handheld filming style that followed Malcolm into his depressive insanity was stylishly done and there's one scene in particular, a close up of Malcolm's face after a life changing event, where you literally see the fire in his eyes and its this subtle use of colour in contrast to the dirtiness of the rest of the cinematography that makes you sit up and pay attention to a film maker who obviously knows what he is doing. Matthew Jure as Malcolm is terrific and has the viewer conveying every emotion as they watch. You despise him for being the kind of landlord during the boom that put families out on the street with his extortionate rents, you feel sorry for him as the effects of his alcohol dependency take a grip of his reality, you worry for him as you hear the voices in head whispering in the background, you hope for him as he finally overcomes the agoraphobia to visit with his neighbour and you think his life is finally finding a purpose, and at the end of the film I was crying with and for him. Jure is not an actor I was aware of before viewing God's Acre but one I will definitely be following now.

What JP Davidson, the writer and director, has done is held a mirror up to society and shown how the actions of one person can affect others whilst handling alcohol and mental health issues in a realistic no frills way. Alongside the social economic narrative he also plays out an intelligent psychological thriller with genuine jumpy moments and very clever twists. Whether Davidson can keep up the dual roles with the aplomb he has shown in God's Acre is yet to be seen but if he separates his paths it won't matter as he has a natural eye for direction and an incredible story telling mind for writing.

Judges it's over to you.

Image - IMDb