Lauren Fash’s Through The Glass Darkly

A mother’s search for her missing daughter takes a turn for the surreal in Lauren Fash’s Through The Glass Darkly, a thriller that I really admired for its willingness to be different and get downright strange in tone, style and narrative twists. It stars Robyn Lively, an actress I only know as the hilariously sultry mayor’s gold digging wife on Twin Peaks and at this point I didn’t think I’d ever seen her surface in anything again, but she has and is seriously excellent here in a role that demands heavy dramatic skill and some trickier aspects that I won’t spoil but she handles wonderfully. She plays a mother whose daughter vanished some years before and spends her days wandering a rundown Georgia county looking for her. The disappearance haunts both her and her now ex girlfriend (Bethany Ann Lind) and no one, from law enforcement to locals, seems to want to help her or even hear about the incident, in fact many apparently blame her for it. Only one reporter (Shanola Hampton, Shameless) who is compassionate enough and cares about the truth helps her in an investigation that covers everything from the hazy memories of the past to a corrupt conspiracy involving the county’s richest and most rotten family. I don’t want to say much because there is one mid film twist I promise you won’t see coming, and adds a fascinating layer of psychological depth to the story. This isn’t exactly a horror film although there are some quite dark elements, it’s more along the lines of True Detective with a splash of Winter’s Bone. There’s a deep sadness to it as well that got to me, and any film that uses the song On The Nature Of Daylight by Max Richter to accent a particularly emotional passage of story should come with an automatic disclaimer to “bring a box of Kleenex.” Spooky atmosphere also plays a part and there are some beautifully lit nighttime shots of rivers, eerie empty streets and the memory flashbacks have a genuinely worn, moth-winged burnish to them. It’s a nice, melancholic, terrifically directed and acted thriller with a truly unconventional feel to it and a very strong performance from the lovely Lively, who is a world away from her bubbly, flirtatious Twin Peaks nymphet. Good stuff.

-Nate Hill


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