The Caravan is a solid British drama. It’s the character driven vintage kind with nuanced performances from the central characters that make you think maybe it’s time for a caravan renaissance. The Caravan takes familial drama to the next level through tightly scripted dialogue by Chris Green and Simon Powell, the latter also directed the film. There are strong performances from Mark Sheals and Darren Connolly supported by the immensely talented Shirley Henderson and Karen Hassan.
Blame, redemption, father-son relationships, loss and sickness all play their part in this drama when Georgina Langley dies of cancer leaving behind her husband and son who haven’t spoken or been in the same room as each other for 5 years. Her dying wish expressed in her will is for them to reconcile by restoring the family caravan together – will they honour her wish or will their apparent hatred for each other triumph.
This is a film that could have turned into a melodramatic mess but it is held together by a script that reveals secrets along the way – a trail of breadcrumbs Hansel and Gretel style. There are no fireworks and there doesn’t need to be. This is what filmmaking is all about and the writers, Chris Green and Simon Powell, provide a scenario that touches on universal truths of forgiveness and loss. Whilst not everyone has lost a parent – you can lose a parent that is living by becoming complete strangers and secrets that seemed to be backed up by sound reasoning at the time lead to resentment and misunderstandings that can take years to understand forgive. The weaker elements of the film was the over use of the dramatic music whenever grief entered the shot totally unnecessary in my opinion and the final 5 minutes. For a film that tried and mostly succeeded for the most part to engage the viewer’s intelligence by allowing them to fill in the gaps the ending just felt forced.
Mark Sheals and Darren Connolly are the central reasons why this film works so well – they are convincing and relatable as the father and son who were once so close and are now strangers. The scene in which they toast their late wife and mother with whiskey is heartbreaking in it’s raw portrayal of loss and fragile forgiveness.
If you want to watch an intelligent, well made British character driven drama then download The Caravan which will be available from 16 March on digital release.
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