21 October 2010 | davideo-2
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning
Elisabeth (Brenda Blethyn) lives a reclusive life on the shores of Guernsey, until her life is torn apart when she learns of the July 7th terror attacks in London, where her daughter lives. Meanwhile, Ousmane (Sotigui Kouyate) is a black Muslim immigrant from France who has also come to London to look for his son, who he has not seen from birth. When he discovers a photo and some contact details, he gets in touch with Elisabeth and they embark on a soul shattering quest to find their flesh and blood that takes them on a journey of discovery and hope, to the gravest depths of despair.
In the extras section of the DVD, even Blethyn herself comments on doubts she had about accepting the script for London River, on account of how close it was to the attacks and the official enquiry etc. not coming out. But it's good that she pushed her doubts aside, because her performance is one of the more compelling things about this old fashioned feeling drama, tending to headlines from very recently. With the feel of some TV drama from the early 90s, director Rachid Bouchareb has laced his daring and challenging drama with some personal touches here and there that give it a neat feel of it's own. The execution never hits with it's maximum impact, and it's over too quickly to really make it shine. But the subtle, under-stated performances from the two lead actors and it's realistic feel of a tragedy and the cruelty of life unfolding lift it well above average. ***