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Review: The Gathering

21 Jan

I picked up this film cheap on DVD and knew nothing about it other the blurb on the box so I went into this blind. I found myself enjoying the film and although it has been cheaply made by British TV company and certainly does not feature much gore it does present a few intriguing ideas and it is fairly well done.

A young American tourist Cassie Grant (Christina Ricci) is backpacking through the British countryside when she gets hit by a car. The driver of the car is Marion Kirkman (Kerry Fox) and she gets Cassie to the local hospital. Miraculously Cassie is completely unhurt and apart from some loss of memory there’s nothing wrong with her. The doctor is not keeping her in the hospital so Marion offers her a place to stay until she can contact people she knows.

Marion’s husband Simon (Stephen Dillane) is a historian and he’s been called in by the church (Anglican or Catholic is not specified)  because a very old Christian church has been discovered when two people at a music festival fell into a hole in the ground and were killed. From what he can see the church has to be one of the earliest Christian churches ever built in the British Isles and with a style of Roman architecture suggesting it is from the time of the crucifixion. The altar is also very strange with  the figure on the cross facing not out into the church but towards a bass relief on the wall of a dozen figures watching the crucifixion. This strange altar has the church very worried so they want Simon to investigate it and keep quiet about it.

Marion takes Cassie back to her enormous house. Simon has two children to his first wife who died, 9-year-old  Emma and 7-year-old Michael. Cassie gets on well with two children especially Michael who is normally very quiet and withdrawn so she’s only too happy accept Simon’s offer of a job as an au pair and nanny. While taking the children to school she starts having strange visions of people badly injured and dying and one of those people is Michael. She also sees people she thinks she knows but they just stare back at her silently.

A priest who is working with Simon at the church site makes an important discovery about the faces on the bass relief. In paintings and photographs over wide spans of human history the same faces have appeared at scenes of human cruelty and suffering, always just watching. And to Simon’s horror he realises he has seen theses same faces Gathering together in his small town now.

I thought that this film had a great premise and was very well acted thanks to an excellent cast of name actors such as Robert Hardy and Mr Fantastic Ioan Gruffudd. It is all very low-key and sedate for most of the film and most of the action takes place at the end of the film. The only weakness was in fact the sub-plot about the killer which seemed a bit too tacked-on and I’m not sure I really followed the mad logic behind making Michael a target. Not for gore-hounds but I did enjoy watching a film which helps prove that not all made for TV films have to be low-grade rubbish (note that SyFy).

Rating 6.5/10

 

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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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