Couple in a Hole
Couple in a Hole is a slower watch from director Tom Geens, but it’s worth it. Geens explores the depths of sadness humans can reach, with patience and beauty typical to the award-winning director who is not afraid to portray darkness.
We open on John and Karen (Paul Higgins and Katie Dickie), who are living within a fallen tree hollow in the wilderness. The remoteness of their new existence is silent, still and smothered by an almost palpable sadness as they retreat from a tragedy in their past. We are engulfed by the couple’s intimate relationship as Higgins bathes and supports his wife as she tries for him to overcome her agoraphobic secluded existence. They are pushed out of their seclusion by Jerome Kircher’s Andre, the likeable yet tormented friend who mobilises the two towards dialogue.
The film is desperate – a desperation emulated in the whole cast. Corrine Masiero’s small yet effective role as Andre’s worried wife is frank and real. Both couples exhibit the transformation companionship can undertake against the toils of life. Both Higgins and Dickie give an impressive physically demanding performance, with Dickie poised in a perpetual position of quiet tension.
Turning to nature in times of emotional turmoil has been a prominent theme in film and documentaries alike, and so it should be. The quiet overwhelming beauty of nature gives space to confront the issues within any relationship, and Geens manipulates this to its full potential, transferring the darkness of the cave to the open forest as the couple begin to confront their inner pain.
The beautiful cinematography, with running tracks that pay homage to the fantastic stillness and beauty of nature, would impress Terrence Malik. The score builds along with the film and, as the couple begin to engage with their troubled past, it pushes us into total immersion in their self-induced isolation. Geens plays with surrealist elements that sometimes hit the mark and sometimes stray, however, in such a simple production the dance with the bizarre is not unwelcome.
Couple in a Hole is a delicate and patient exploration of loss, love and forgiveness that requires the same approach from the watcher.
Couple in a Hole does not have a UK release date yet.
Watch the trailer for Couple in a Hole here: