New Zealand movies all seem to have a cool temperature about them. Damp valleys, barren landscapes. Remember Vigil? The Navigator? The Piano? All damp as heck. But that's New Zealand for you: Land of the Long Damp Cloud.
Saying that, all those movies have really strong, interesting characters. In My Father's Den is no exception. Celia (Emily Barclay) is a young girl with big dreams in a too small town. Her hopes for a world outside her life so far begin to blossom when Paul (Matthew Macfadyen) a local boy-made-good returns home for his father's funeral.
Celia and Paul strike up a friendship and spend a lot of time together in Paul's late fathers secret den. A room full of books and dreams, music and secrets. Small town whisperings about their relationship becomes front page speculation after Celia disappears and Paul becomes the prime suspect.
Secrets. Shakespearian misunderstandings. Dangerous consequences. The price paid. This movie is slow moving, like the town in which it's set. It jumps from present to past and back again as the pieces and the reasons are revealed.
The movie is long - 126 minutes - and it felt longer. It seemed to drag in the first instance, reckon it could've done with a good short-back-and-sides. The characters were very strong and the cast really good. Especially Emily Barclay as Celia.
If you are getting a taste for New Zealand cinema, I recommend this movie to you.