Frozen, a film by Juliet McKoen, 2006

What starts slow sometimes ends quickly as this haunting story of loss and obsession works its way under the viewer’s skin with quiet determination.

Frozen is the story of Kath, whose sister Annie vanishes without a trace in the icy tundras of Morecambe Bay in Northwest England. Did she run away? Did she fall under the ice? Was she murdered? The appearance of video surveillance footage from an unexpected part of town, The Docks, opens up Kath’s wounds and her obsession with her sister’s disappearance grows ever greater. Kath begins to frequent The Docks to walk in what must have been her sister’s last footsteps and begins to have visions of her sister in some sort of netherworld running along the banks of a river. In her first vision she picks up a handful of sand from that dreamworld which makes its way back to her position on the cobblestoned Dock street.

At first I was unsure what to expect from the film, having never heard of it before and thinking it would be one of those absurdly plotless and boring indie films about vague pain and suffering no one can relate to. It turned into a compelling and captivating tale, with beautifully thoughtful performances from Shirley Henderson (Bridget Jones and Harry Potter) as well as Roshan Seth (Gandhi, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, My Beautiful Laundrette) playing Kath’s therapist/priest. The story flowered with an orchid’s grace, dangerous and poisonous yet transfixing. I was a deer in the headlights, frozen in the unknowing and needing to see how it would end. The ending left me cold, and I still think about this film even though it has been weeks since I saw it.

This film would be a small river, rarely seen or heard, difficult to find even, but it is most certainly a river worth travelling.


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