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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Film Review: Black Pond

An engaging first feature from new directors Will Sharpe and Tom Kingsley, make sure you see Black Pond at the cinema this Monday 5th December at the Ritzy in Brixton, with a Q&A featuring actor Chris Langham.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Black Pond By Katy Hudson
Black Pond by Katy Hudson.

A film about that follows the events leading up to a man’s death told in semi documentary manner may not sound like particularly engaging subject matter, but Black Pond uses an interesting backward glancing narrative arc to create an effective portrait of dysfunctional family life that is set to rapidly unravel. Despite clues about the final denouement that appear from the start of the film we are never quite clear what is going to happen in what turns out to be a blackly humorous first feature from new directors Will Sharpe and Tom Kingsley.

Black Pond - family at pond
Black Pond Blake Underwater by Gareth A Hopkins
Black Pond Blake Underwater by Gareth A Hopkins.

Black Pond by Olivia Rose
Black Pond by Olivia Rose.

Black Pond Mad Rita by Jane Young
Black Pond Mad Rita by Jane Young.

The lead role goes to the outcast Chris Langham, who is excellent in his role as the beleaguered husband in a dead end marriage – his opening lines could as well refer to real life harassment from the press as they do his fictitious situation. Director Will Sharpe (who wrote the screenplay) takes on the role of a confused friend who brings the daughters back to the family home as the main crisis takes hold, and in the soundtrack I recognised echoes of his former guise as a musician in Jumpers for Goalposts (covered in Amelia’s Magazine a few years ago). His fellow band member Helen Cripps appears in Black Pond as the red headed daughter.

Black Pond - Chris Langham rain
The film was shot on a shoestring budget that is evident in the paucity of locations, but I for one welcomed a realistic depiction of a family home, where paperwork is piled on top of the piano and the bathroom shelf is lined with grotty bottles: no Hollywood gloss here, just glorious, banal, British surburbia.

Black Pond family at pond by Gareth A Hopkins
Black Pond family at pond by Gareth A Hopkins.

Black Pond by Gaarte
Black Pond by Gaarte.

There were a couple of scatological scenes that I didn’t really understand and some slightly too unbelievable moments provided courtesy of Simon Amstell‘s role as a cod psychologist, but these are minor quibbles about an otherwise witty and loveable first feature from a multi-talented director/actor/musician to watch.

Black Pond - Simon Amstell car window
You can catch Black Pond at the Ritzy this Monday 5th December, where Chris Langham will be on hand to answer an audience Q&A alongside the two directors. Catch it on the big screen whilst you can!

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