Eye For Film >> Movies >> Devil's Gate (2003) Film Review
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
Rachel (Laura Fraser) works as a nurse in Edinburgh. She comes from the islands, now full of bitter memories. She is searching for her mother.
Dad (Tom Bell) is a crofter and a raddled drunk, who has an accident with a sheep that puts him in bed for a few days. Reluctantly, Rachel comes home, believing that he's dying, and once there the whole sick saga of her childhood returns and she wanders around, looking as if someone has poisoned her budgie.
The director, Stuart St Paul, is from South London. His concept of West Highland life comes from watching The Wicker Man too much. Only Rachel speaks with a Scots accent. Even Rafe (Callum Blue), the boy she played with as a kid, talks Uxbridge.
The plot is impregnated with menace and yet feels entirely false. Rafe moons about in one of those Sixties faux military overcoats, gagging for a snog. There is a fat man (Roger Ashton-Griffiths), dressed in a cowhide poncho, who lives in the attic. He is called Eagle and behaves like a child who hasn't learnt to speak yet. What he's doing there is anyone's guess.
A tourist on a motorbike (Luke Aikman) happens by and helps to look after Rachel's dad. He is a decent, dull-faced fellow who appears completely normal, which is more than can be said for the local copper (Patrick Gordon), who fancies Rachel rotten. He has greasy long hair and is old enough to be a lollypop man. In fact, he looks like one, except he wouldn't have been given the job, because he has shifty eyes.
The melodramatic undercurrents flow backwards into an ocean of absurdity. This is not helped by acting that remains as flat as an oatcake. Only Bell, who grows ever more iconic, gives a performance that moves without wires. Fraser scowls her way through, as if one expression tells a thousand stories, and the plot implodes finally in a series of revelations that have as much credibility as Jesus's career as a spaceman.Reviewed on: 06 Nov 2003