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Lung Ha Reviews: Innocence

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Ben Reid's Innocence 

A short film directed by Ben Reid, Innocence (2019) centres around a care home where a young man with Down syndrome is questioned by the police following a terrible accident….

This film was amazing to watch. Masterful storytelling that puts you on edge, a sense of fear and intimidation from start to end yet leaving you wanting more.

The film opens to the police finding a body outside what looks like a care home for people with disabilities. Elizabeth Noble (Alice Lowe) questions a member of staff on duty that night and a patient who was caught on camera. The two men happen to be brothers and both have a vendetta against another man – the staff member who was found dead that night.

Previous portrayals of characters with Down syndrome have thankfully always been performed by actors with the syndrome – only for the actors to find they are portraying one dimensional characters, often not being the focus, usually “happy” or even “dumbed-down”.  I’m pleased to say that the character of Dylan McCarthy (Tommy Jessop) felt complex and challenging which is exactly what any actor wants in a role. Jessop made you both feel sorry for Dylan’s predicament – especially with the increasingly insensitive and vile questioning (Noble hinting at the idea of his brother thinking of Dylan as a burden was very hard to listen to) he is faced with - yet somehow also despise him for his actions while hoping he could somehow get out of trouble.

I’d like to also mention Bethany Asher who portrayed Sarah Barnes, the unassuming girlfriend of Dylan – Asher showed a lot of vulnerability while showcasing her character’s intelligence and empathy for Dylan without saying a word. A very captivating performance and I hope to see her in more work.

Disability representation is at an all-time low despite 22% of UK’s population having a disability. I would love to see more films and theatre shows like this - with complex stories, writing and characters. As a disabled performer, I thank Ben Reid and his team for making this film that highlights some important issues with our society while giving Jessop and Asher a chance to showcase their talent by trusting them with complex characters.

5 stars

Emma McCaffrey

More information on Innocence is available under the following link: www.innocencethefilm.com/