Couple In A Hole review

A poorly-named thriller meets drama revolving around a traumatised Scottish couple living in an underground cave in French woodland, this film has interesting elements, but fails to quite take off. Partly a look at the way personal tragedy affects two people, and how they choose to survive it, the thriller aspect soon emerges as the reasons for them being there and the reasons they don’t want to be seen emerge.

The film's failure is largely due to a great deal of patience being needed for the lingering takes which undercut any possible sense of urgency or threat, with any possible remaining feelings of emergency slaughtered by a woefully chosen score. It’s shot more like an Icelandic ballad music video than narrative film. But it sure does make that forest look pretty.  

It’s a shame really, because the story itself is really interesting. It doesn’t give anything away easily, so you have to piece things together slowly for yourself. Why are they in the forest? How long have they been there? Why don’t they want to be seen? And why is the woman too emotionally broken to go outside the cave?

And what happens when someone realises that they’re there and wants to help? Could they have ulterior motives? It’s when the fragile stability of the couples broken lives is interrupted that things get interesting and the mystery slowly unwinds itself. This is where the film excels. You can’t help but care about these people, struggling with their demons as well as the elements. There might not be an easy way out for them or any simple answers, even if they leave the forest.

As I watched it, I couldn’t help but wonder, why a forest in France? The forest looks lush, beautiful, inviting. How much more interesting could this film have been if the forest was menacing, moody, twisting. There is unused potential in this film that was not tapped, and honestly, it’s a shame. But although it’s not a perfect film, it still has something that will keep you watching til the end, wondering what it’s all going to come to. Fans of British cinema will certainly get something out of this film, as it’s pushing the boundaries of the mainstream in creative ways. It’s certainly a film that will get you thinking and asking questions, which a lot of current thrillers do not. 

Hermione Flavia is a Screenjabber contributor

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