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Welcome to The Fourth Wall, CHIRP's weekly e-conversation on cinema. This week's subject is the Netflix feature The Levelling.
This edition is written by CHIRP Radio volunteers Kevin Fullam and Clarence Ewing.
You grew up in Nebraska, right, Clarence? I have to imagine that all around, there were glistening fields of crops as far as the eye could see? Admittedly, I've never been to the Cornhusker State, but such is my impression of most everything west of the Chicago suburbs... at least, until you hit the Rockies or so. Even for an urbanite like myself, the landscapes I'm envisioning are rather majestic.
The farm depicted in 2016's The Levelling? Far from majestic. Did we see the sun emerge even once here in the English county of Somerset? The farmhouse sits rotting after a flood, with its former inhabitants evacuated to a nearby trailer home. Cows shuffle dutifully to and fro, through muck and mire.
Returning to her rundown family farm is veterinary student Clover (Ellie Kendrick). Her brother Harry has just died via a self-inflicted gunshot wound; he had been drinking -- was it suicide, or an accident? No one seems to give a convincing answer either way. Money problems abound, with Clover's father Aubrey (David Troughton) in dire financial straits. Also telling? Clover refers to him by his first name, and shows a decided lack of warmth towards him and her brother James (Jack Holden). As we'll find out, there's good reason.