Martyrs Lane is a slow painful pull into a deep and psychological dive into grief, blame, and self-destruction immersed inside an insular family dynamic.
We witness this story from the perspective of 10 year old girl, Leah (Kiera Thompson) at the family home, an old vicarage, who begins to unearth hidden secrets that her family members have tried to bury.
Slowly, Leah is provided with clues to point her (or lure her) in the direction of truth, but who is behind the mystery and what is the price of uncovering past haunts?
The pacing of this movie is deliberately drawn out to build up the tension of the tale which is to be commended, especially as the actors of the piece beautifully tap into the darkness. It does however serve as a detriment to our engagement, often suffering under the weight of its own caliginosity. There are listless moments throughout the film as we’re often left to languidly drift through the storyline unable to connect.
Ruth Platt’s third outing in the director’s chair proves that she’s no stranger to the craft and manages to steer her actors through a pot-boiler that wrangles every ounce of drama out of them. The children in particular deserve high praise, with some naturalistic performances that grind the drama into a sense of realism.
A hard film to engage with and fall into some of the admittedly beautiful shots on display,
The performances are great and if you bide your time and indulge in the slow pacing, you will be rewarded with a fantastic tale.
But man, they make hard work of it.
- Saul Muerte