Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Two burglars, the not particularly competent Blue and the somewhat unhinged Yebsley, are in the process of robbing a farm. They've targeted it because it's got a gun cabinet, but things have started to go wrong even before they discover that it is empty.

The titular harvest is that of, well, fate - the reaping of that which has been sown. Blue, played by Andrew Tiernan, thinks too much, and as he and his new partner wait for nightfall he discovers that his father has died. Yebsley, whose name has an odd origin that this review won't spoil for you is played by Michael Socha. Beyond a role in This Is England, Socha can also be seen another short at the 2009 Edinburgh Film Festival, Bale, and he's in Dogging: A Love Story.

They're joined by June Watson as Laura, an elderly farmer's wife, a good and loving woman, devoted to and adored in turn by her husband William. Watson has been in loads of stuff, a veteran of stage and screen, and she's excellent here. As her husband, Sam Kelly is similarly good. William lost his legs to a tank in the First World War, a fate that bears no small role in proceedings.

Events, as they unfold, are both shocking and satisfying. Watson and Kelly have genuine chemistry, in particular as they extol the pleasures (and costs) of pig-farming, while Socha and Tiernan rub against each other in the right way to produce convincing conflict. The ending isn't what one could call traditional, but it does feel right, even morally so.

This is writer Richard Bean's debut, director Alex Winckler's sophomore effort. The story works, and the transition from motorway landscape to rural wilds is well shown. So, too, the mud and the blood, as the harvest comes in. Mention should be made of the sound work, and the quality of the work by Ole Bratt Birkeland in the cinematographic sphere.

While always visually interesting, the real surprise of Harvest is in the script. In truth it initially seems middling - plodding, almost - but as it unfolds it suddenly blooms, becomes brilliant. The best crops often require patience, and Harvest is well worth it.

Reviewed on: 20 Jun 2009
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Two thieves break into a farm, but they're not alone.

Director: Alex Winckler

Writer: Richard Bean

Starring: Andrew Tiernan, Michael Socha, Sam Kelley, June Watson, Ryan Kygill

Year: 2008

Runtime: 22 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2009
London 2009

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