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Following the death of her father, Alice (Ruth Wilson) returns to her home village for the first time in 15 years, to claim the tenancy to the family farm she believes is rightfully hers.

Director:

Clio Barnard

Writers:

Clio Barnard, Lila Rawlings (story development) (as Lila V. Rawlings) | 1 more credit »
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4,293 ( 382)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Ruth Wilson ... Alice
Mark Stanley ... Joe Bell
Sean Bean ... Richard Bell
Esme Creed-Miles ... Young Alice
Aiden McCullough Aiden McCullough ... Young Joe
Shane Attwooll ... Tower
Steve Garti ... Jim
Una McNulty Una McNulty ... Susan Bell
Dean Andrews ... Matty
Jonah Russell Jonah Russell ... Pete
Paul Roberson Paul Roberson ... Declan
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Billie Billie ... Billie
Olivia Brennan Olivia Brennan ... Ellie
Ophelia Campbell Ophelia Campbell ... Alice Bell as a child in a photo
Alfie Charlesworth Alfie Charlesworth ... Joe Bell as a child in a photo
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Storyline

After receiving news of her father's death, Alice, a young travelling sheep-shearer, tentatively decides to return to the dilapidated family house of her childhood, in muddy North Yorkshire. Surprisingly, it's been already fifteen years since Alice left behind an ailing dad and her older brother, Joe, to wander about from farm to farm; however, this cold and heavy homecoming will be Alice's last chance to reclaim the land she believes was once promised to her. But, now, on one hand, there's Joe's resentment paired with a rancorous rivalry between siblings--while, on the other hand--fleeting mournful shadows of a troubled past permeate the walls of an imperfect prize. What will it take to keep the haunting memories at bay? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 June 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Σκοτεινός ποταμός See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,246, 1 July 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$7,714, 5 July 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

French visa #149102. See more »

Quotes

Alice: Wait.
[pause]
Alice: We should cut that field.
Joe Bell: I don't cut for silage. I leave it for hay.
Alice: They're all skin and bone.
[pause]
Joe Bell: Come here. I wanna show you summat.
[pause]
Joe Bell: It's shepherd's needle. You don't see it very often. Not round here, anyway. When it comes through its seed pods, they look like a needle. When you cut it for silage, all you end up doing is... killing everything that's under it. In one acre of hay meadow... you've got 400 million insects. 600 million mites. Two million spiders. Burnet ...
[...]
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Soundtracks

An Acre of Land
Traditional British song
Adapted Harry Escott
Sung by P.J. Harvey
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User Reviews

 
Dark River
2 July 2018 | by benpeytonSee all my reviews

Following the death of her father (Sean Bean), Alice (Ruth Wilson) returns to the farm she was brought up on to claim her right to the tenancy. Her brother Joe (Mark Stanley) has been looking after the farm, along with their dad, and disputes her claim and wants the farm for himself. Through occasional flashbacks we learn of Alice's abuse at the hands of her father. Whilst it, thankfully, doesn't go into detail we're shown enough to understand Alice's 15-year absence from the farm and her awkward relationship with her brother as she attempts to repair the damage between them.

Dark River is a terrific showcase for Ruth Wilson and Mark Stanley. Both look completely at home on a farm, whether it's sheering sheep or fixing gates, and their clashes over what's best for their land leads to some devastating consequences. Wilson produces a quite heart-breaking performance and skilfully conveys Alice's desire to prove herself and her need for some kind of closure from the traumatic events of her past.

Holding his own against Wilson, Mark Stanley gives an excellent performance as Joe. His conflicted emotions at the return of his sister and the future of the farm make for intriguing viewing and in one uncomfortable scene his drunken rage is one of the most frightening rampages I've seen for a long time.

Although he hardly has any dialogue or screen-time, Sean Bean's weathered face and gruff exterior create a thoroughly believable character, and his Northern presence is felt throughout the film and within the walls of the dilapidated farmhouse.

The other leading character in Dark River is the unforgiving Yorkshire countryside. Beautifully filmed with some exquisite shots of green fields, hills and rolling landscapes director, Clio Barnard, makes full use of the surroundings and accompanying weather.

Dark River is home to exceptional performances and a gritty, albeit slightly grim, Northern drama. Well worth a watch.


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