In My Father’s Den [based on book] by Maurice Gee
dir. by Brad McGann
Script: Brad McGann
Cast: Colin Moy, Emily Barclay, Matthew MacFadyen, Miranda Otto
Setting: New Zealand
Rated : 7 Stars
A cynical, war weary, world-renowned journalist returns home, for the first time in 17 years, in order to attend his father’s funeral. But once back in small town New Zealand he finds his past their waiting for him.
Starting off fairly slow, In My Father’s Den is a thoughtful, quiet almost subdued drama, that turns into a bit of a thriller by the end. MacFadyen plays Paul, the journalist, and does a very good job as the detached onlooker. All the acting is good, and the drama of the situation keeps you interested, but not enthralled.
Then, midway through, the film sort of flips forward in time. Paul and Celia have just started to chat and talk when suddenly we jerk forward in the timeline, to the day or so after she disappears. From then on a series of flashbacks, interspersed with the investigation, tell us what happened. Paul begins to get strange looks from the townpeople, clearly they think he is somehow responsible.
There are also flashbacks to when Paul was a child, and a teenager. These hint, but never quite reveal, why he left home the way he did.
This is when, imo the film really comes into its own. As an audience we don’t know enough about any of the characters so we can never be sure what exactly happened. And I didn’t see the ending coming, although I did think … (if I say that it’ll give things away so I won’t.)
Slow, but very enjoyable film