London River

2009

Drama / Mystery

2
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 91% · 34 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 67% · 10K ratings
IMDb Rating 6.9/10 10 3881 3.9K

Top cast

Brenda Blethyn as Elisabeth Sommers
Francis Magee as Inspecteur anglais
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
809.81 MB
1280*692
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 28 min
Seeds 8
1.47 GB
1920*1038
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 28 min
Seeds 8

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Prismark10 7 / 10

Breaking the barriers

The tenth anniversary of the 7 July bombings has led to a flurry of programming including the somewhat disappointing and emotionally manipulative A Song for Jenny shown on BBC television.

Rachid Bouchareb who made the award winning Days of Glory has made this curious low budget film just a few years after the atrocities which is a mixture of English, French and Arabic.

Elisabeth (Brenda Blethyn) is a hard working farmer in Guernsey. After the July bombings she tries to contact her daughter who lives in London but she does not return her calls. Worried she makes her way to London and finds out that she is living in a flat in a predominantly Arab area.

Ousmane (Sotigui Kouyate) is an African Muslim working in a forest in France. He has come to London to look for his son who his family back in Africa cannot contact. Ousmane knows little about his son had he had to leave his family behind to work in France. At one point we discover that he believes that his son might had been one of the perpetrators of the London bombings.

Ousmane sees a photo of Elisabeth's daughter and realises that he has a picture of her and his son together and contacts her. Elisabeth is wary and distrustful of Ousmane and calls the police. It looks like the son and daughter were living together and her daughter was also learning Arabic. Elisabeth could not understand why she would be learning Arabic,hanging with a black African boy and living in a French-Arab area of London. Its all confusing to her.

Eventually Elisabeth realises that they are both on the same quest and team up together to look for their respective children. It seems that there is hope that their children are alive and went abroad on the day of the bombings.

Sotigui Kouyate gives Ousmane a quiet dignity, the actor was frail when he made the film but looks imposing with his big presence and dreadlocks. Brenda Blethyn specialises in playing frumps these days and here she very much hits the mark as someone who has grown in an environment a world away from multiculturalism of London.

When she comes to London she is confused especially as she tries to fathom how her daughter ended up in such an alien environment and felt comfortable with it.

The fact she comes from Guernsey helps get over the language barrier as she can communicate with Ousmane in French. Francis Magee plays a police inspector who speaks French in a bizarre Irish/Manx accent.

You always suspect that the film will inflict a sucker punch to the duo. It is just a shame that it took place in such a poor setting of some basement corridor full of pipes that was supposedly a police station.

It is a slow burning and thoughtful piece of two people looking for a glimmer of amongst despair and then dealing with their despair. Its simple premise is a big plus as you get pulled in with their search for their loved ones.

Reviewed by wellthatswhatithinkanyway 7 / 10

Commendable drama

STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

Elisabeth (Brenda Blethyn) lives a reclusive life on the shores of Guernsey, until her life is torn apart when she learns of the July 7th terror attacks in London, where her daughter lives. Meanwhile, Ousmane (Sotigui Kouyate) is a black Muslim immigrant from France who has also come to London to look for his son, who he has not seen from birth. When he discovers a photo and some contact details, he gets in touch with Elisabeth and they embark on a soul shattering quest to find their flesh and blood that takes them on a journey of discovery and hope, to the gravest depths of despair.

In the extras section of the DVD, even Blethyn herself comments on doubts she had about accepting the script for London River, on account of how close it was to the attacks and the official enquiry etc. not coming out. But it's good that she pushed her doubts aside, because her performance is one of the more compelling things about this old fashioned feeling drama, tending to headlines from very recently. With the feel of some TV drama from the early 90s, director Rachid Bouchareb has laced his daring and challenging drama with some personal touches here and there that give it a neat feel of it's own. The execution never hits with it's maximum impact, and it's over too quickly to really make it shine. But the subtle, under-stated performances from the two lead actors and it's realistic feel of a tragedy and the cruelty of life unfolding lift it well above average. ***

Reviewed by antoniotierno 7 / 10

effective drama, tribute to the 7/7 bombings in London‏

This movie is a gentle and deep melodrama using the July 2005 terrorist acts as a jumping off point for telling about clashing cultures united in grief. The story is certainly a hard look at racial biases and is strongly backed by Blethyn's character, whose repressed hysteria clashes with Kouyaté's attitude (more similar to a calm resignation). The director has also depicted a very serious and fascinating study on how Londoners were unprepared to react to such an emergency. Overall this is a poignant and insight-filled take on prejudice in post-11/7 London, well acted and directed. There have been other "Londoner" films about the same subject (or about terrorism in the UK) but this is the best by far in my opinion.

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