If they wanted to, they could have made Kindred into a horror movie. I mean, the situation that the lead character is thrust into basically provides the right kind of setting for that type of movie. However, they decided to turn it into a psychological thriller instead. I guess some could take issue with that at the start, but I think this fits well in either genre.
After the sudden death of her boyfriend, mother-to-be Charlotte (Tamara Lawrance) has her life changed completely. As she recovers, her now-deceased partner’s mother (Fiona Shaw) and stepbrother (Jack Lowden) offer their assistance and provide her with a place to stay. Charlotte accepts the help, but as days go by, she grows suspicious and begins to believe that the family may be trying to control her and her unborn child.
A simple way to describe Kindred is to say that it’s kind of a stereotypically British movie. I mean that in terms of the pace and tone that we experience through the vast majority of it. As it progresses, the film feels slow at times and a bit dry. The lack of consistent music doesn’t help matters.
There is a musical soundtrack here, but it’s infrequent for the most part. When we do hear it, it’s somber and slow as well. Even when the mood is slightly upbeat in the earliest portions of the first act, the same sound remains. It takes a while, but eventually, the music that we listen to blends in more and more with what’s occurring on-screen.
The point of the pace and the ambiance as a whole was to make things feel isolating and depressing. It does the job to a great extent, but the film would have benefited from a bit more energy in some of the earlier scenes. The lack of life during certain periods was detrimental to the film, but what helped me want to continue watching was the overall content of the movie itself.
Even when it moved somewhat too slow, the content was intriguing as things are unfolding. We don’t completely know what’s happening, but they give us enough to make us want to keep our eyes on the screen. As it moves along and things get a little faster and more thrilling, you begin to watch with a heightened sense of anticipation as you wait to see what happens next.
Many of your suspicions will be confirmed by the time we reach the film’s climax, but that really doesn’t matter all that much. I think the reason for that is because they also give you a number of things that you probably won’t be expecting. Because of this, Kindred has somewhat of a fresh feel to it even though it’s basically a mystery where you’re able to figure certain things out pretty early on.
In spite of it feeling mostly negative, Kindred‘s tone turns out to be mostly serene somehow. I guess that was another factor that made this odd and consistently watchable. For that, some of the credit goes to the people behind the cameras, but some of it has to go to the actors who present us with fairly warm characters (considering the circumstances) who come off as genuine people.
As the credits started to roll on this psychological thriller, I was glad that I took the time to watch this film. As I said, it ended up being somewhat predictable in a few ways, but it still managed to feel new to some degree. Kindred is a picture that most people in America may not ever watch, but if you get an opportunity, I suggest giving it a chance if you’re curious.
Director: Joe Marcantonio
Film Length: 100 minutes
Release Date: November 6th, 2020 (VOD and Select Theaters)
Distributor: IFC Midnight
- Score - 7/107/10