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Bribaba's Movie Reviews (138)

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Shout, The (1979) 
Let it all out
3/4 stars

The backdrop to this startling tale is that bastion of English civility: the cricket match. Going to the wicket here are the staff and inmates at a mental asylum. Keeping score is a young intern and Crossley (Alan Bates), a man whose needs are special and very possibly insane. During the course of the game he describes to his fellow scorer how his life have come to such a pass. He claims to have been living amongst Aborigines for eighteen years, and to have learned how to kill by shouting. In flashback we are taken to Devon where he takes up with a young rural couple (John Hurt and Susannah York) who are skeptical of this and most of his other scary stories. Unsurprisingly considering that, as narrators go, they donít come much more unreliable than mental patients.

Thematically this is similar to The Wicker Man with its challenge to Christian beliefs, though itís much more layered and with less of a narrative thrust. Bates gives a performance of great power, rather then the quietly smouldering persona we are used to. Hurt and York are both excellent, particularly the latter as she succumbs to the madmanís charms. Director Jerzy Skilomoskiís takes Robert Gravesí story at face value and introduces an east European art-film aesthetic into what could have been a Hammer horror.


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