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> After the Waterfall
4 stars (out of 5)
Director: Simone Horrocks
Cast: Antony Starr, Sally Stockwell, Peter McCauley, Cohen Holloway, Michelle Langstone
A child goes missing. Her father turned his back for only half a minute and she was gone. That of course is high on the list of worst-case scenarios parents use to torture themselves and there are plenty of bad places that After the Waterfall (Rialto) can go from there.
The cliché is, it is the not knowing that tears you apart and After the Waterfall uses that to maximum effect.
John (Anthony Starr) and Ana (Sally Stockwell) never find out where their child went and we the audience share their ignorance.
John, at the beginning, is a Doc worker happy with his wife and child. When Pearl dematerialises all the other rock-solid aspects of his life vaporise as well. Bereft, he stumbles through his days in a fog of bereavement - a one-man cautionary tale.
The movie deals with how he finds some resolution even though his obsession with Pearl's fate will never leave him.
Starr is well known to Outrageous Fortune fans and it is his wet-eyed visage that dominates the film. Most actors have a hard time with ordinary and it is to his credit that John stays resolutely believable.
While this is an impressive debut it never quite manages to fill the time allotted and so resorts to padding, which gives the poor emotionally-wrung-out audience an extra load to shoulder.
Best thing: This is Kiwi as, without once resorting to kiwiana clichés to tip us the wink that we are in the land of the long white cloud.
Worst thing: There is one cringe-making scene where Doc worker John goes to clear the Timms traps and demonstrates that no-one on this film had any idea of how they actually work.
See it with: A childless person; otherwise expect plenty of "I'll just nip out and text the babysitter" behaviour.
- Christine Powley