This film explores the repercussions of an illegal sexual relationship between a 13 year old girl, Una, and her neighbour and father's friend, Ray.Fifteen years have passed and both of them are scarred and emotionally damaged by the affair. Una is angry and vengeful, while Ray has served four years in gaol before changing his identity and becoming settled in an age-appropriate relationship. Una finds him by chance and seeks him out at his workplace where he has achieved respected managerial status. The film shows their tense meeting and regularly flashes back to the tender moments of their taboo liaison.While there are several small parts for characters such as Una's mother and Ray's partner and workmates, this film is almost entirely a 'two-hander' with the leads played by Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn. Mara is best known for a string of recent successes including opposite Cate Blanchett in 'Carol' and as 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.' Melbourne-born Mendelsohn's career includes the Adelaide classic, 'Return Home', 'Mullet', 'Australia', 'Slow West' and a string of blockbusters. He even played Rupert Murdoch in Craig Lahiff's 'Black and White'.His role here is a career best. As Ray, he is startled, troubled, protective and terrified all at once. Mara's Una is difficult to read as we try to get to know this complex character in the space of a regulation-length feature film.With the main action taking place in a modern factory with just two characters, any chance of dullness is exploded by the exquisite production design, artful and assured camera work and the audacious editing. This visual extravaganza is set to the striking music of Jed Kurzel, South Australian musician best known for working on his brother's films 'Snowtown' and 'Macbeth'.But this is a British film, based upon the play 'Blackbird' by Scottish playwright, David Harrower, who also wrote the film's screenplay. The taboo issues and themes are expertly teased out through a sharp, Pinteresque script.This is the debut feature for director, Benedict Andrews born in Adelaide and educated at Flinders University but there is no need for cultural cringe here. 'Una' is a brave and inventive psychological thriller and one of the best films of the year. Challenge yourself.
When a young woman unexpectedly arrives at an older man's workplace, looking for answers, the secrets of the past threaten to unravel his new life. Their confrontation will uncover buried memories and unspeakable desires. It will shake them both to the core.
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October 1, 2017 at 3:00 pm