Though The Road Dance is set against the ever-looming First World War, do not let that fool you: this isn’t another war drama of love being divided across countries. Adapted and directed by Richie Adams, from John McKay’s 2003 novel of the same title, the story follows a young resident of the Isle of Lewis, Kirsty Macleod (Hermione Corfield), whose life is not just turned upside down by the war but also by an incident on the night of the famous ‘road dance’.
It is hard to not instantly feel like you’ve received a warm hug as the film begins, the stunning coastline shots by Petra Korner encapsulating the beauty and isolation of the island, and accompanied by Carlos José Alvarez’s atmospheric score. In fact a lot of credit must go to Alvarez who captures the Scottish atmosphere perfectly, interweaving traditional songs with new melodies. It intensifies the heartbreak as the music makes you feel instantly that this is a home; a community bound together by tradition, and one which you know will be shocked.
Praise must go to Corfield, who portrays Kirsty’s delicate and heartbreaking journey with ease and strength; a talent to watch out for in the future. The chemistry between her and Will Fletcher, who plays Kirsty’s love interest, Murdo MacAulay, is undeniable, and at times it was hard to believe they were just acting. Fletcher gives a confident and truthful performance as MacAulay, demonstrating beautifully the hopes and dreams of the generation we lost to the war.
Mark Gatiss adds another triumphant performance to his ongoing repertoire as the community Doctor, with Morven Christie moving most of the audience to tears on several occasions in her portrayal of the mother, Mairi Macleod. As a whole the cast is flawless, with the strongest ensemble I’ve seen on film in a while. There is certainly no weak link!
It is rare for me to feel so comfortable in watching a film, but The Road Dance was like a ‘welcome home’ to a place I am not even from, as it flowed with ease. But with twists and turns occurring – at times simultaneously – this is one film to make sure you use the bathroom before watching, as you won’t want to miss a second. Oh, and it might be best to pack a tissue or two!
Directed by: Richie Adams
Written by: Richie Adams and Maryilene Blondell
The Road Dance will be released by Parkland Entertainment on May 20th. Check local cinema’s for further information.