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Second, The (Mairi Cameron, 2018) wr. Stephen Lance, prod. Leanne Tonkes, Stephen Lance, dp Mark Wareham; Rachael Blake, Susie Porter, Vince Colosimo, Martin Sacks, Susan Prior, Megan Dale, Bridget Webb; thriller
Formal production still for The Second, photographed by Alina Gozin'a
Synopsis: A successful author riding high on the international acclaim of her first book, a sexually explicit autobiography, has everything – money and critical acclaim. Everything is perfect, except she’s struggling to produce a second novel. She has writer’s block. Attempting to meet her deadline, the author and her publisher and boyfriend, take a long summer weekend at her family’s country estate. The grandeur of the property is breathtaking, but it conceals a dark secret that remains unwritten. When a beautiful friend from the past arrives out of the blue, the secret becomes a deadly problem.
The Second is a genre film that also dares to borrow some art film conventions – and, in fact, it does so more skilfully and deftly than many of our certified art films manage to do. Adrian Martin.
Stephen Lance’s script and the rock-solid direction of Mairi Cameron (an industry vet making her feature debut) use the tried-and-true promise of a steamy three-way as a trojan horse to draw audiences into a world that turns out be more about the false starts, alternate realities and mounting frustrations of the creative process. That the Writer turns out to be a far more malevolent person than she initially lets on gives the filmmakers license to, for lack of a better word, Blumhouse the proceedings with just enough violence and mystery to keep viewers off-guard — and interested. In an art form of illusion, the filmmakers reason, narrative is fair game. And this is what happens when you make up stories. Variety.
There is something to be said, however, for a thriller that resists wallowing in after-office hours. Cameron imparts a message that the daytime may be brighter but no less dark, and that secrets hide as much in sunshine as shadows. This remains, despite the onerous intellectualising, an engaging perspective explored with energy and verve. Guardian.
Martin, Adrian 2018, 'Overlooked and Underrated: The Second according to Adrian Martin', Screenhub.
Garry Gillard | New: 16 August, 2018 | Now: 29 November, 2022