Intriguing and engrossing 1984 mystery drama with to-die-for cast
National treasure David Hare remains best known for his award-feted plays (Plenty, The Blue Room) and his screenwriting (The Hours, The Reader), but he’s also an assured director, as is evidenced by this intriguing and engrossing mystery drama funded by Film Four in 1984. It revolves around a dinner party hosted by a lonely schoolteacher (Vanessa Redgrave in a role Hare supposedly wrote to examine Margaret Thatcher as a product of her time) in her cottage at the titular Yorkshire village and the arrival of an unexpected guest (Tim McInnerny), a stranger invited by friends Judi Dench and Ian Holm who returns to the cottage the next night and kills himself in front of his host. The subsequent unravelling of the ‘suicide mystery’ prompts Redgrave’s spinster to recall a passionate and tragic love affair from her youth and the viewer to question assumptions about what’s gone before. The to-die-for cast also features Tom Wilkinson, Stuart Wilson and Joely Richardson, and the film rightly won Berlin’s Golden Bear. Extras: still gallery.