Wednesday, 2 September 2015


45 years, a lifetime even to those some degree past it, reconfigured in under two hours, or in merely one motion. The past does not come back to haunt the present in Andrew Haigh's 45 Years, the past is the present, yet what ability we may possess to seize the day is stranded amid decades' worth of emotion. Joy reframed as heartbreak takes its toll on Charlotte Rampling's Kate, all at once and wholly alone, a prickly, precise and powerful summation of a generation, a nation and an institution in little more than two characters and one week. The film is a little precious at times, though dramatically solid, and courts contrivance, though to perfect emotional purpose; Haigh's little errors can all be qualified in pursuit of his dramatic goals, and forgiven in light of the overall success of 45 Years as a creative venture. His experience as an editor carries particular profundity in crafting this film, as he constructs scenes and passages with sensitivity to mood and character; as a director, he subtly emphasises the allusions to the past that abound in the script, fashioning a film that does its job without calling any attention to itself - an appropriately dignified, humble piece of prime British craftsmanship. That Haigh is aided immeasurably by the terrific work of his lead actors, Rampling and Tom Courtenay, is demanding of all one's attention and admiration however, and that both are at the top of their game is yet more credit to his smart, empathetic touch as a fledgling great filmmaker. 45 years have been lost to lies; may Andrew Haigh see at least 45 more if he can keep this standard up.