The Isles of Scilly provide the dramatic, windswept backdrop for Joanna Hogg’s soulful familial drama.
Set on the scattered Isles of Scilly, Archipelago explores, in quietly domesticated scenes, the expanse that exists between each member of a typical family, but also the ties that bind them. Director Joanna Hogg is highly literate in the unsaid decrees and subtle gradations of manners that define affluent middle England.
She communicates these with the observational faculties you’d expect of the arthouse, like a Mike Leigh for posh people fused with a gentle Michael Haneke. In the hands of a less sensitive director this film could feel small and thin, but Archipelago is calm, attentive and conscious of overstaying its welcome.
Yet a bite remains; an acute, intimate and searching frustration. Again and again, in scenes full of humour and strain, Hogg invites her audience to dismiss these people as fundamentally different from ourselves. But sat in a dark auditorium, we are merely watching our own reflections.
Published 4 Mar 2011
By Jordan Cronk
Joanna Hogg’s impressive third feature offers an intimate dissection of an artistic couple’s relationship.
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