‘The Road Dance’ review: a crybaby from World War I | ET REALITY


Set in the Outer Hebrides, a verdant archipelago west of mainland Scotland, “The Road Dance” is a standard period drama that hits hard truths with improvised delivery.

Kirsty (Hermione Corfield) is a restless beauty who lives with her sister and mother in a remote crofting community. It’s the years leading up to the First World War, and conscription is sweeping the nation, including Kirsty’s boyfriend, a poetry-reading softie named Murdo (Will Fletcher).

Before Murdo and three other locals are sent to the Western Front, the town honors them with a night of dancing and drinking. It is here that Kirsty will be violently raped, an assault that director Richie Adams describes in a blurry manner and takes place in darkness.

Adapted from John MacKay’s 2002 Scottish bestseller, this run-of-the-mill crybaby spends most of his time detailing the aftermath of the attack. Kirsty becomes pregnant and is forced to hide not only her physical condition but also her mental trauma from the prying members of her ultra-religious town. Cryptic sermon scenes about sinners and Satan play throughout Kirsty’s ordeal, raising the stakes, although Kirsty is not the only one to have been through hell and back, as evidenced by a network of whispers of withered women who come together to help her get ahead.

The culprit remains unknown until the bitter end, a revelation accompanied by a gentle twist: that any man is capable of such violence. It’s an uninspired take, along with the use of rape as a plot device.

Shifting between theatrical sincerity and startling realism (the work scene is particularly colorful), “The Road Dance” is a vivid, if ultimately schematic, portrait of female resilience.

The dance of the road
Not qualified. Duration: 1 hour 56 minutes. In theaters and on demand.

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