Wednesday, 19 August 2020

The Incident - 2015 film review

The Incident (the 2015 film of that name) is described on Amazon Prime as a 'powerful, emotionally haunting modern British noir'. For me, the key adjective is 'under-stated'. In fact, to call it 'under-stated' is itself an under-statement. The storyline is clear and coherent, but minimalist to say the least. Writer-director Jane Linfoot certainly didn't go over the top. If anything, she aimed too low.

Joe and Annabel are a young married couple who seem to have it all. They are rich, successful, and ridiculously good-looking. And Annabel's about to get pregnant. What could possibly go wrong? Well, Joe being talked into an unspecified sexual encounter by a young girl while he waits for a takeaway pizza, that's what. It's the incident that dictates the rest of the film.

I imagined all kinds of dramatic developments that might flow from Joe's unhappy misjudgement. But Linfoot doesn't go in for melodrama. Instead, she opts for a character study focusing mainly on the rich couple. The girl is presented as a caged bird, someone trapped in a miserable lifestyle, but this isn't really explored. Nor are the characters of Joe and Annabel, who - it must be said - are by no means endearing. Wealth and good looks don't equate to happiness seems to be the simple moral.

Ruth Gedmintas, Tom Hughes, and Tasha Connor perform capably in rather two-dimensional roles, with Gedmintas particularly good. The failure of the story to catch fire frustrated me, but I must say that I did keep watching, and I think that Linfoot deserves credit for making a film that is consistently engaging, despite failing to deliver on its full potential. The script and characters are under-written, but even though this is a slight film, it is well-made and certainly watchable.

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