Review by: Graeme Kay | Rating:
INTERESTING reflection on life and death written and directed
by Emily Young.
Helen (Ingeborga Dapkunaite) lives somewhere in south London
with her two children, 14-year-old Kate (Millie Findlay) and nine-year-old
Telly (James Martin), and her ageing father, Pap (David Warner).
Her husband, John (Peter Mullen), is an aid worker stationed
in the war-torn Balkans.
Helen and the children desperately miss John, whose commitment
to his job keeps him away from them for long periods of time.
A few days before her birthday, Helen speaks to John on the 'phone
and pleads with him to come home and join in the celebrations.
The conversation ends in an argument and John feels that, against
all the odds - no safe transport or escort out of the war zone
- he must try to get back to England.
Meanwhile, after walking Telly to school, Helen is killed in
a hit and run accident, leaving the two kids and the semi-senile
grandpa to look after themselves.
Apparently unaware that she is dead, Helen returns home to keep
watch over her family and wait for the return of her husband.
At the same time, John's perilous journey back to London is peppered
with incidents and premonitions that reflect what has happened
at home and his sense of dread and desperation are further fuelled
by his inability to contact his family.
And, like Helen, he is in a state of limbo, as he travels though
a land that is strewn with death and confusion.
Emily Young says that her aim with this film was to explore what
happens immediately after death, and this she does quite successfully.
Helen's continued concern for her family are in step with the
strong maternal instincts she has displayed in life, and her confusion
as to what is now happening to her is almost palpable.
While there is no happy ending here, Kiss of Life is a life-affirming
film that manages to deal with universal themes, love, death and
man's struggle against inhumanity, in a way that is both thought-provoking