London River, to me, explores the impact that terrorism has on families and is based on the aftermath of the July 7th, 2005 attacks in London, as it follows two parents caught up in the mess this useless kind of cowardice can cause.
London River starts out watching both Elisabeth (BAFTA winner, Academy AwardÂ® nominee Brenda Blethyn) and Ousmane (Berlin’s Silver Bear winner, Sotigui Kouyaté), in their respective locales, in their day-to-day moments. She in Guernsey and he in West Africa.
The opening scenery is beautiful to behold, accenting both locations. Then we watch Elisabeth see the news about the bombings and she calls and leaves her daughter a message, asking her to call to let her know she’s OK.
Elisabeth ends up going to London and starts her hapless search, not knowing where to start, where to go. But she slowly works out the details. All while trying to adapt to the city and the neighborhood her daughter lived in.
Ousmane comes to London to find his son and in his search, he discovers that his son was in a group photo with Elisabeth’s daughter, hence, he calls her from one of her missing posters she’s been distributing around the neighborhood.
But rather than seeing the potential in the help, she calls the cops on him, thinking he has something to do with her disappearance. So much for that first introduction!
But since they’re running in the same circles, looking for their kids, they encounter each other more and more and become allies in this search for their children.
This is not an action based movie but rather, a very somber, quiet focus on two people’s desperate search for their loved ones. It created a range of emotions, from worry, to hope to frustration as these two parent comb the clues and hope.
It’s a solid dramatic piece when you look at it like this…
If you like solid, dramatic pieces that pull you into desperate situations, I think you will fully enjoy this movie. If you’re a Transformers, Avengers type fan, um, not so much!
On a sad note, this was Sotigui Kouyaté’s last film. He passed away in April of 2010. Below is a synopsis of the movie:
Set against the backdrop of the July 7th terrorist attacks in 2005, LONDON RIVER follows Elisabeth (BAFTA winner, Academy AwardÂ® nominee Brenda Blethyn) from a small farming community in Guernsey as she travels to London in the immediate aftermath of the bombings after failing to hear from her daughter. Elizabeth is disturbed by the confusion of the metropolis and above all, by the predominantly Muslim neighborhood where her daughter lived. Her fear and prejudice escalate when she discovers her daughter was converting to Islam as she keeps crossing paths with Ousmane (Berlin’s Silver Bear winner, Sotigui KouyatÃ©), a West African who has come from France to find his missing son. Although they come from very different backgrounds, Elizabeth and Ousmane share the same hope of finding their children alive. Putting aside their cultural differences, they give each other the strength to continue the search and maintain their faith in humanity.
London River on Amazon (purchase or instant video)