Blast from her past
WHAT WAS it Amy Huberman did before she married that basketball player (or whatever)? Oh, yes, she was an actor. And this taut Irish thriller from PJ Dillon, hitherto an acclaimed cinematographer, reminds us that Huberman is, in fact, a darn talented one.
Rewind is a little bit short for a full-blown theatrical release. The ending is a tad mechanical. But the fluid direction and superb central performances – an uncharacteristically nasty Allen Leach is equally good – help the piece fizzle with menace.
What we have here is a fresh entry into the “guilty past” school of suspense. Huberman plays Karen, a settled mother living in a sleek house with a loving husband. One day, Karl, an old acquaintance, saunters into her life and – for reasons that emerge slowly – causes her to twitch nervously. Eventually, after Karl threatens to reveal her grim secret, Karen agrees to accompany him on an ill-advised road trip. Awful things happen in the forest.
Handing camera duties to Ken Byrne, Dillon allows the film to unfurl in a sinister series of metallic greys and chemical blues. From the moment the picture begins we know we are in an unhappy place. The sense of a too recently forgotten, more desperate Ireland returning to reclaim the complacent tigers is, perhaps, unintended, but that subtext adds an unsettling resonance.
Dillon’s cleverest decision was, however, to cast Leech and Huberman as the two former conspirators. Leech, recently the ambitious chauffeur in Downton Abbey, has generally dealt in cheeky benevolence. Huberman would have been few directors’ first choice for a working-class girl made good. But, dredging through impressive reservoirs of grit, both actors make a virtue of their deceptively shiny good looks.
Rewind is a seriously impressive collaboration. Let’s hope the team manages to regroup soon with a bigger budget.
Chasing Amy: Leech and Huberman