The Incident

 

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An intimate drama notable for fine performances and for being the feature debut of its writer/director.

 

Incident, The

Ruta Gedmintas

 

In recent years Britain has been notable for developing a formidable number of talented women who have made their mark in serious cinema in the role of writer/director. One thinks of Andrea Arnold, Clio Barnard, Joanna Hogg, Carol Morley and Lynne Ramsay and now we have Jane Linfoot whose debut feature The Incident suggests that she has comparable potential. She has created here a small-scale work set in Huddersfield, but it is immediately apparent that she has a great camera eye and, working here with Pau Castajón Úbeda, it would seem that she has already found her ideal photographer.

 

Aptly enough for a piece created by a woman, The Incident tells a story in which two contrasted female characters are the centre of our focus. Lily (Tasha Connor), whom we meet first, is an unappealing but very credible youngster who latches on to Joe (Tom Hughes) when he stops to pick up a pizza. We learn that he is married but he succumbs to Lily's advances (sex for cash payment is part of her desperate way of life) and then drives home to his wife, Annabel (Ruta Gedmintas). Joe understandably keeps quiet about the incident but Lily on subsequently recognising his car follows it and invades the expensive modern-style country house where Annabel is now alone because Joe, an architect, has been called away on important business.

 

In some hands this might have developed into some kind of horror tale based on home invasion, but Linfoot has decidedly different aims in mind. Playing down dialogue (she largely tells her story through the pictures) she shows Lily not as a threat but as a have-not drawn to observe somebody who is her opposite, stealing nothing of value when entering the house but trying on Annabel's clothes. The discovery of her presence there causes her to flee but she is later apprehended. Although Annabel had been unnerved by the moment when she had found Lily in her house, the development of the story shows how she comes to feel guilty for having ignored Lily earlier when she had seen her begging and behaving riskily. There is here a link with the opening of the latest Dardenne brothers movie The Unknown Girl and I actually find this the more effective film even if at times the rather sparse background information supplied can seem too minimalistic.

 

Joe's secret involvement with Lily does add to the suspense when a Victim Liaison Officer wants Annabel to meet Lily in a bid to put her shock behind her, but the key moment of revelation that follows seems rather set up. However, both Gedmintas and Connor have the talent to seize the opportunities that Linfoot has given them and the individuality and distinction of The Incident are such that one awaits further work from Linfoot with real interest.                  

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

  

Cast:  Ruta Gedmintas, Tasha Connor, Tom Hughes, Noma Dumegueni. 

 

Dir Jane Linfoot, Pro Caroline Cooper and Sandra McDermott, Screenplay Jane Linfoot, Ph Pau Castejón Úbeda, Pro Des Byron Broadbent, Ed Matthew McKinnon, Music Tim Hecker, Costumes Holly Rebecca.

 

BFI/Creativity Capital/Square Circle Films/Universal Spirit/Wild Bobert-Verve Pictures.
94 mins. UK. 2015. Rel: 28 November 2016. Cert. 15.