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By midlandsmovies, Apr 1 2019 09:17AM

Midlands Review - Cradle

Directed by Joe Facer & Adam Sandy


Dreams of Summer Productions

Cradle is a new film from actors-turned-filmmakers Joe Facer and Mark Wisdom and cinematographer Adam Sandy who were the team behind recent Midlands release God’s Broken Things. (link)

We open on an old spade digging up dirt in the overcast countryside before cutting to a man (Joe Facer) in a bedroom who is looking at a belt on the bedside cabinet. Immediately we are thrown into a world of dark thoughts and quiet contemplation.

Are the man’s thoughts turning to suicide? Well, we discover the man is the same one digging the grave and we begin to contemplate what may have caused his downslide.

Edited in a very slow and measured way the film’s gazing camera focuses on the man’s face as he appears torn by what cannot be an easy decision.

The film uses the natural sounds of the countryside mixed with underlying tonal notes by Mansfield based musician Hamish Dickinson which begins building suspense. Cutting back and forth from the digging to the bedroom the man looks at a child’s drawing of ‘mummy and daddy’ before we’re back grave-side as he scrumples the sheet in his dirty fist.

However, he pauses for a moment in the dirty forest and coughs up blood into his hand. Is the man ill? Dying? Has he lost his family? Perhaps a child? Well, the film leaves a lot of the questions it raises open to interpretation.

Concluding with the man crawling slowly into the makeshift “cradle” we never find out what has caused his spiral of depression and as the camera moves to above his head we get, a little cliched to be fair, a final stare up into the heavens.

The symbolism and subject matter in Cradle is a little on the nose for me but as it’s shot simply and without fuss, the film is also open to a certain amount of audience reading which is a good thing.

Although the content of the film is nothing new in the Midlands film scene, fans of dark experimental drama will enjoy its open questions, vulnerable tone and allegorical influences where a man is pushed to his final resting place in a short meditation on the human condition.

Michael Sales

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