It begins with a wayward teenager whose self esteem is lacking, and life ridden with chaos and frustration. The Incident (2015) is a subtly timid psychological thriller, which tells the story of a cold, affluent couple and how their life is, mildly, thrown into turmoil with the impact of this wayward teenager.
The synopsis of Jane Linfoot’s debut feature is of a thriving couple whose comfortable lives are disrupted and their relationship unravelled by ignoring the plight of a troubled teenager. Lily sets off a chain of events within the lives of Annabel and Joe that confronts them to explore their superficial relationship and truly examine their inner beings, and is inextricably linked to the couple and their unborn child.
The de-saturated grade, lack of dialogue and clean lines within this film all add to the lack of warmth within the narrative. The focus pulling and slow-pace of the thriller all leave us gagging for a little more of a revelation from all three characters, as the direction and acting merely skims over the leading parts. The most emotive scene throughout the film is the one whereby Lily extracts a tear and places the stocking over her head, which leaves the viewer with plenty of questions.
With the costume and reckless nature of Lily, highlighting a vast difference in class, there is clearly some great direction to this film, albeit not pushing the performances enough throughout the film. There lies the suggestion in the narrative that these characters are lacking happiness and contentment within their destructive relationship, before Lily comes along, lending a nod to Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road, and Sam Mendes. Joe’s elated response to the news of Annabel’s pregnancy seems unexpected but perhaps this simply outlines the artificial nature of their bond.
Evocative score by Tim Hecker, particularly at Annabel’s mention of going to meet Lily, disclosing the discord in their minds, I can’t help but feel that this is one of the more dramatic elements of the film. The well-shot yet cold, psychologically stunted drama misses it’s opportunity to transpire into anything transfixing. With performances that skim over the issues, unfortunately, it’s difficult to empathise with the characters throughout. It’s obvious, however, that Linfoot does have the capacity to direct a great drama. She just needs to tweak a more convincing and heart-felt performance from all of the actors. It certainly displays real potential.
In selected cinemas from Friday 25th November