2.5 out of 5 stars
An aesthetically impressive and well constructed film, based on the play, Blackbird, Una explores the provocative issues of child abuse/child love and what the relationship between an abuser and his victim. However, the film leaves almost everything extremely ambiguous and so wide open to interpretation, that I find frustrating and disengaging. The film is structured with a powerful beginning which slowly teases out the backstory and relationships between its main characters, but the rest feels as if it has exhausted itself (and this viewer) and grinds slowly to a shuddering halt. Even though I haven’t seen the stage production, I can imagine that the verbal sparring conducted on stage would work better than what we got here. With that taken out for the film adaptation, the ensuing silence and unspoken emotional turmoil bubbling under can give the cast, in particular Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn, a lot of scope to play with but the end result here for me just feels slow, distant and ponderous.