★★★★☆ 

AFTER receiving a devastating call that her brother Charlie (Joe Blakemore) has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, young veterinary student Clover Catto (Game of Thrones’s Ellie Kendrick) returns home from a life away at college to the family farm and her father Aubrey (David Troughton) to whom she hasn’t spoken for years.

The guilt over her brother’s death in her absence looms large over her as she tries her best to carry on and help out with the ever-mounting workload of running the farm – made worse by devastating flood damage that ravaged the picturesque farmland back in 2014 – and trying to find common ground with her difficult, emotionally closed-off father.

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With confident brush strokes, debut writer-director Hope Dickson Leach paints an absorbingly bleak and compellingly downtrodden view of rural life that’s already hard to live never mind the tragic death of a close loved-one compounding it.

The drama is low-key in actual events – we’re seeing the emotional fallout from one single, unforgettable incident – but in terms of raw emotion and power it’s anything but.

Leach exhibits a rare directorial confidence to allow stillness, atmosphere and subtlety of performance to drive the drama. Kendrick in particular puts in a wonderful central performance as Clover, conveying the need for this proud young woman – “Stop calling me stupid! I’ve got four A levels, two degrees and I’m about to be fully qualified as a vet,” she tells her abrasive, dismissive father – to try to stay strong when she has every right to crumble and cry in a corner.

Leach makes a stark impression on the British indie film scene with this atmospheric, uncompromising and tonally measured drama that deals bluntly with the seemingly unsurmountable weight of grief and a believably strained relationship between a father and daughter.

An impressive calling card for films to come.