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Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

THE debut feature film from Jordan (daughter of Ridley) Scott is accomplished enough from a filmmaking point of view, but a little too formulaic to be truly memorable.

Set in a strict 1930s boarding school on an unnamed isle, the film focuses on a clique of teenagers, led by Di (Juno Temple), who exist to impress their glamorous swimming teacher, Miss G (Eva Green), until the arrival of beautiful new Spanish pupil Fiamma (Maria Valverde) threatens to divert her attention.

As Miss G devotes herself to winning Fiamma’s attention, the cracks in her own demeanour begin to show, hinting at a different identity to the one she portrays.

Based on a ’60s-set South African novel, Cracks quickly establishes its own identity and is frequently as stylish as you might expect from the daughter of one of cinema’s great visual masters.

But crucially, it’s also a million miles removed as well. Her film is more understated and subtle, while focusing on femininity rather than the masculinity inherent in her father’s work.

It helps to ensure that Jordan emerges as a talented filmmaker in her own right, even though there are still elements that fail to impress.

The story is obvious and evokes the spirit of films such as Picnic At Hanging Rock and Lord of the Flies a little too blatantly, while the pacing can sometimes feel pedestrian.

There are strong performances, however, from the likes of Temple (supremely manipulative and spiteful as Di) and Green (as the sinister Miss G). The likes of Imogen Poots and Spanish newcomer Valverde also make strong impressions and embellish the ensemble cast.

Scott, though, could have done with taking a few more risks at times to really establish her credentials as a fearless filmmaker in her own right. For while Cracks does possess the odd risque moment, it’s ultimately undone by a feeling you’ve seen this done one too many times before.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 104mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: March 29, 2010