The Living and the Dead

Championed by sausage-fingered scribes administrating websites with names like, this Brit product, set amid the degenerate peerage, superficially recollects superior art shockers like In a Glass Cage and Fists in the Pocket, but substitutes jittery, unconvincing "in the mind of a madman" foolishness for the hard work of psychological acuity. At the rundown family seat in the countryside, Lord Brocklebank's days are devoted to caring for his invalid wife and adult son, James (Leo Bill), a stoat-faced git suffering from an unspecified mental ailment that leads him to fling himself about. Horror ensues when the master leaves to attend to some business, and James dismisses the nurse to prove that he can play caregiver to mummy by himself—which of course he can't, and even less so when he starts skipping his meds. There are a few moments addressing the humiliating intimacy of caring for a stricken parent that are avert-your-eyes excruciating, but it isn't long until the sped-up cloud coverage comes along to signal "mood," and you know you're in for another sort of pain. This is great filmmaking in the sense that overplayed virtuoso guitar shredding is great music—which is to say, not at all.

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