Verity’s Summer (2012) **

February 24th, 2013
Author: Meredith Taylor

Director/script: Ben Crowe

Cast: Indea Barbe-Willson, James Doherty, Nicole Wright, Cristi Hogas

Producer: Emma Biggins

Cinematographer: Sara Deane

102min     Drama UK

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Verity’s Summer is Ben Crowe’s debut feature.  Set in the enchanting beauty of an English summer this slow-burning, lyrical coming of age indie has newcomer Indea Barbe-Willson as Verity, a Middle class teenage girl on the crest of womanhood and back home from boarding school to face her Policeman father recently from Iraq.

And it’s a time of change for Verity. On the way home, she crosses paths with Castle, a drifter who later is washed up on the beach. Her parents argue. Her mother (Nicola Wright)  is unhappy; her father distant, awkward and harbouring a guilty secret. He is called in to lead the investigation into Castle’s mysterious death. And there’s an intriguing Polish stranger (Cristi Hogas) who appears on the scene: But how is he connected to the family?

An interesting storyline then but not a particularly new one.  Verity’s Summer has much to explore with its themes of family dysfunction, immigration and the Iraq conflict but a script that fails to deliver a gripping narrative. It drifts along promisingly at first but then loses momentum and fails to reach any constructive conclusion or dramatic clout. Indea Barbe-Willson shows promise as an intuitive schoolgirl on the crest of discovering love and sex but James Doherty seems wooden as her dad: infact it’s difficult to believe he’s related to her or married to her mother as there’s no chemistry or spark between any of them.

What makes this watchable though is the glorious summer countryside and wildly sweeping coastal beauty of Northumberland. Sara Deane’s visuals are really magnificent and won her Best Cinematographer in the Cannes in A Van 2012 Awards. With an original score from  Alexandros Miaris combining classical pieces, this is an accomplished first feature. It’s the sort of drama that would be great for Sunday night TV on the Beeb or ITV.  MT

VERITY’S SUMMER SCREENS WITH Q&A AT THE TRICYLE CINEMA, LONDON ON 9TH AND 10TH MARCH 2013

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