Gaby Dellal's impressive directorial debut 'On a Clear Day' is a simple little movie that tells the story of Frank and his relationship with his wife, son and friends. After getting sacked from his job, he falls into depression. The fact that he couldn't yet come to terms with the death of his son, his fragile relationship with his other son Rob, his wife secretly applying for a job as a bus driver doesn't do much to cheer him up. The only thing where he seeks comfort is in swimming. He then decides to swim the English Channel. Initially, his friends are reluctant. He hides the news from his son and wife. However, things take a slightly unexpected turn.
The movie has been made on a modestly small budget, yet it makes good use of its tools. Dellal uses a very greenish tone to set the mood. Cinematography is great. Music is impressively put to minimum use. The screenplay cleverly balances both drama and comedy.
Performances are a standout. Peter Mullan is brilliant as the stubborn Frank. He delivers a subtle and studied performance. Brenda Blethyn is amazing as Joan (who is the complete opposite of Blethyn's character from 'Little Voice'). She keeps reminding the viewer of her incredible versatility. Jamie Sives is effectively restrained. Billy Boyd provides enough comic relief to lighten up moments that could otherwise have been 'too serious'. Sean McGinley, Ron Cook and Benedict Wong are all superb.
An enjoyable and remarkable little film it is, the common viewer will be able to relate to the characters and situations. 'On a Clear Day' is not trying to be anything loud or larger than life. It's more of a slice of life, a modest and honest little film.
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