Couple in a HoleCultureCinemaMovie reviews
The premise of Couple in a Hole is a simple if unusual one: the film tells the story of a Scottish married couple surviving day-to-day in a forest cave somewhere in France. Quite what they’re doing there, what caused them to take up this life, and how they interact with the world at large are all explained by increments over the course of the film. One wonders how the concept was originally conceived, but the execution is a compelling one. Puzzle pieces of plot are measured out at a fair and even rate, which allows for some exploration of character and some elaboration of setting. Though this film suffers from a clear lack of budget, it demonstrates a strong ability to play to its strengths, emphasising the somewhat mysterious beauty of the forest setting, and capitalising on an earthy tone to characterise the protagonists’ everyday lives within the cave.
Sadly, that same tactile sensibility is also reflected in the acting and the script. In the simplest of scenes, the lead actors are fairly adept at portraying marital peace and quiet, but where the script comes in, a fascinating scenario mutates into the awkwardness of a drama-school production. Though the cast are undeniably doing their best, the dialogue is always just a little too direct, a little too expositional to feel truly natural. Though the director is clearly skilled in visual presentation, his lack of confidence in writing is palpable, and ultimately borne out by his inability to bring a satisfying conclusion to an intriguing situation. The final seconds of film are tantamount to a metaphorical shrugging of shoulders, a highly contrived roadblock to stop a wildly out-of-control plot in its tracks. Reasonably executed technical exercise it may be, but is Couple in a Hole significant? Memorable? Even vaguely articulate about matters beyond what is simply presented on screen? By its own admission, almost certainly not.
Couple in a Hole is released in selected cinemas on 8th April 2016.
Watch the trailer for Couple in a Hole here: