Second Coming
R2 - United Kingdom - Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Matthew Crossman (8th July 2015).
The Film

Middle aged mum Jackie (Nadine Marshall) finds herself pregnant despite not sleeping with her Husband Mark (Idris Elba), or anyone else for that matter, for several months. Her fears over her mysterious pregnancy are heightened by the fact that she has miscarried in the past on four occasions. As the weeks pass so does the option for a termination and Jackie has to see the pregnancy through. To make matters worse Jackie is also experiencing some rather disturbing hallucinations involving, what appears to be, a deluge of rain in her bathroom. Mark, rather belatedly it seems, finally gets around to doing the mathematics of the pregnancy and realises that the baby cannot possibly be his. Jackie, now ostracised by Mark and her teenage Son JJ (Kai Francis-Lewis) in her own home, becomes more and more desperate which finally concludes in a suicide attempt. Mark discovers Jackie and gets her to the hospital but the state of Jackie’s mind is still uncertain. Then, finally, it’s time for the birth.

The term ‘kitchen sink drama’ can ably be applied to this film. Not only is it an accurate portray of a working class families life in London, but it seems that most of the scenes in the opening thirty minutes of the film take place over a kitchen sink (or at least in a kitchen). The family unit is established in these scenes. Jackie works in a welfare office, whilst Husband Mark works as a railway repairman. Their Son, JJ, is a bright, amiable child who has more than a passing interest in birds and wildlife. Whilst all this is established the main thrust of the storyline is not revealed easily by Director/Writer Debbie Tucker Green. Information is drip fed to the viewer through conversations and actions. It’s a real ‘show’ not ‘tell’ kind of film. Although Idris Elba is the marquee name on the film, and he is excellent in it, his thunder is stolen by Nadine Marshall as Jackie. Marshall features in almost every single scene and it is difficult to take your eyes off her, so good is her performance. Kai Francis-Lewis is almost as entrancing as her Son JJ and there are several uncomfortable scenes that really make you feel for his character. What lets this film down is the pacing and the direction. There are many long, silent scenes of actors simply sitting. Whilst this establishes mood once, anymore than that and it starts to become irritating. Debbie Tucker Green has an annoying habit of filming the actors through objects. Whether it be doors, railings, grass it is very distracting. She also has a habit of starting a scene off out of focus and then slowly coming into focus. Actors are filmed via mirrors in cars for no discernable reason I make out other than to showcase the Director’s skill at dreaming up unique shots. Very arty, I’m sure, but it did nothing for this reviewer except remind me that I was watching a film. There is one scene, towards the end of the film, where Jackie is sitting in a room with her psychiatrist. This scene is perfectly framed with Jackie on one side of the frame and the psychiatrist on the other with just the right amount of dead space to indicate distance between the two characters in between. The camera does not move for the entire scene and just simply lets the actors ply their trade, which they do superbly. Sadly it’s this desire, perhaps, to be ‘clever’ with the camera which is the film’s downfall. A more simpler technique through out the film would, in this viewers opinion, be more effective.

Video

Filmed and presented on this DVD in 2.35:1 anamorphic. The picture and colours are fine. Nothing to shout about. Once or twice the colours pop out of the screen. These are usually the outdoor scenes set in fields or on the railway line where Mark is working. A perfectly acceptable presentation.

Audio

The viewer is given the choice of English Dolby Digital 5.1 or English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. The rear speakers do, on occasion, get a work out, especially during the hallucination scenes. The sub woofer only comes into it’s own when music is played but both options are absolutely fine. Dialogue comes across as quite low, especially towards the beginning of the film which leads me nicely onto my next observation. This disc has no subtitles of any kind. Anyone with a hearing problem is going to struggle with this film. Not only are the London accents quite strong in places, but there is a fair amount of Jamaican patois and much of the dialogue from the characters overlaps. Not to have any subtitles is large omission.

Extras

One trailer, on start up, for a film called ‘The Man Inside’. That’s your lot. It would have been nice to have a commentary from Debbie Green Tucker on her directorial film debut if only to hear her talk about her direction so I could know whether my criticisms about her camera choices were valid or not.

Overall

An interesting film with no easy answers in regards to it’s subject. The cast are all superb with particular mention to Nadine Marshall and Kai Francis-Lewis whom are both outstanding. Idris Elba delivers a great performance too and you can see his full range of abilities here. The film could have been tighter in regards to it’s running time and it’s a shame that, in too many instances, you notice the Director’s hand in the film rather than the excellent cast on screen.

The Film: B- Video: B Audio: C Extras: E Overall: C+

 


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