Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

London River

London River
Brenda Blethyn and Sotigui Kouyate

Rated: No rating 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: December 16, 2011 Released by: Cinema Libre

The new British drama from the director of the historical epic Days of Glory has spot-on acting from its two parental leads, and is set shortly after terrorist bombers hit London in 2005.
London River stars Brenda Blethyn (Atonement) and the late Sotigui Kouyate, and is in English, Arabic, and French with English subtitles.
Blethyn's Christian conservative widow Elizabeth Sommers toils as a farmer on the Channel Islands, and Kouyate's elderly Muslim West African gentleman in France as a forester.
Helmer Rachid Bouchareb (perhaps with more of a small screen touch) allows this characters to help blossom a mere forecasted tale with some wrenching, intimate soulfulness.
These two oddly join forces in the aftermath of another horrific attack which killed 70 (including the bombers) and wounded some 700. Elizabeth goes looking for her teenage daughter Jane who isn't answering her cellphone, while the aging forester is similarly trying to track down his son. Suffice it to say, Elizabeth isn't happy when she learns of Jane's new direction in life in the eponymously shaken metropolis that includes the son, living in a Muslim neighborhood, and an Islam proselytizer.
A very limited production appears to go beyond its means using its location work rather effectively against an unsteady narrative. London River might be a predictable parable to some, as it tackles issues like racial and religious intolerance. But, as Blethyn and a very fine Kouyate provide an intense spark during rough personal times that often tugs with honesty and truth at the heartstrings.

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London River        B                  B 

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