'Song for Marion', in cinemas from Friday 22 February, marks a change from its director's persistently brutal work to an overload of twee. And Terence Stamp sings.
Mechanical and corny, Song for Marion is pleasant enough but for its reliance on overly familiar plot strands and shorthand characters that never quite ring true. Elizabeth is the choir’s inexhaustible instructor, whose job as a teacher is only referenced, and whose love life is a shambles, despite her impossibly self-knowing understanding and patience. The film is also structurally routine, working through the motions towards its neat resolutions – which also include a subplot concerning Arthur’s estranged relationship with his son James (Christopher Eccleston). Tonally at least, this is a curious turn for writer-director Paul Andrew Williams after the rarely-seen horrors The Cottage (2008) and Cherry Tree Lane (2010), and whose debut feature London to Brighton (2006) was a persistently brutal, seedy thriller. Like that film, though, this is photographed with a near absence of master shots, so that its visuals only heighten the narrative claustrophobia. And a sequence in which Elizabeth teaches her pensioners to “do the Robot” is far more wince-inducing than anything in Williams’s previous films.
[Originally posted to Front Row Reviews on 23 October, 2012.]