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Absence makes the hurt grow stronger

An eviscerating, fearless adaptation of David Harrower's play Blackbird, this drama stars Rooney Mara as a young woman shaped and scarred by a sexually abusive relationship she had with Ray (Ben Mendelsohn), a much older neighbour, when she was 13 years old. Opening the action out without losing any of the claustrophobia that made the original so tense, Harrower and director Benedict Andrews (a theatre director making his film debut here) flit effortlessly between time periods. In the past, we see the then 13-year-old Una (an indelible Ruby Stokes) and Ray making an ill-fated attempt to run away together, which results in his arrest and imprisonment. In the present, Una tracks Ray, now living under a new name, his past buried, to a factory where he's a respected middle-manager dealing with a downsizing problem at the workplace. Their confrontation is a harrowing exercise in truth and reconciliation, where the principals' motives and darkest desires are as complex and almost unfathomable to the audience as they are to Una and Ray themselves. It's tough watch, but the leads' scorching performances makes the effort worthwhile. Courtesy: Leslie Felperin, Radio Times


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Directed by: 
Benedict Andrews
Running Time: 
100 minutes
Rooney Mara, Ben Mendelsohn, Riz Ahmed, Tara Fitzgerald, Natasha Little, Ruby Stokes
Official site: 

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