Social realism is something British cinema does well, and Wreckers is another quality example of that genre (if one can call it a genre). It is the debut feature of Dictynna Hood, and stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy, two superb young actors, as a newly married couple David and Dawn living in a rugged farmhouse. They seem happy in the life they have built, although it is suggested early on that there may be fertility issues.
Their happiness is put in jeopardy when David’s brother Nick (Shaun Evans) arrives back from the army and stays with them for a summer. Their lives become very complicated as Nick reawakens memories from the past and makes Dawn think about the man she has married and the life she is leading.
Hood directs the film with a close, observant eye, and intelligently plants the viewer in the middle of the domestic turmoil that is steadily consuming the central characters. She also opts for a style reminiscent of other British directors working with similar material, such as Andrea Arnold and Susanna Hogg, but successfully puts her own print on the film without sacrificing the drama. This could have become a passable television drama, but it justifies its cinematic roots by using the nature-filled settings and widescreen photography very well.
Some may find the story a little too unstructured, and if it were to appeal to a mass-audience it would need to have a tighter narrative. Thankfully, not everything has to be carved into an accessible mainstream product, and it’s to Hood’s credit that she directs the film the way she wants and manages to make it nothing less than compelling.
Wreckers (2011), directed by Dictynna Hood, is released on DVD in the UK by Artificial Eye, Certificate 15.