THE SENSE OF AN ENDING (Ritesh Batra)

Ritesh Batra’s The Sense of an Ending adheres to The Lady in the Vans (2015) artistic model, somewhat for better but mostly for worse.

They both feature style-bereft direction of saccharine catnip-for-the-geriatric (Nicholas Hytner – the director of Lady – can be forgiven because he’s first and foremost a theatre director, having steered London’s National Theatre to much success; what’s Batra’s excuse?).

They’re both written by expert playwrights – Nick Payne for Sense and Allan Bennet for Lady (the former is less expert than the latter, to say the least) – who seem to believe they need to dumb themselves down for the cinema, but their high intellects are still detectable.

The uniformly strong performances by the towering leads – Jim Broadbent and Harriet Walter in Sense, Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings in Lady – are somewhat diminished by the feeling that their roles fall a bit too comfortably in their respective wheelhouses.

Though the equally adept ensembles are too numerous to list, two in Sense stood out, one for better and the other for worse: I’m always a fan of Matthew Goode’s old-English, high-society brand of chewing the scenery, while Billy Howle comes cross like a poor man’s Eddie Redmayne.

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