Marc Isaacs (director)
26 January 2024 (released)
25 January 2024
The thousand year old village of Thaxted, Essex is the not so bizarre setting for an unusual film that at times borders on the bizarre.
With the cast playing pretty much themselves first up is Lori (Lori Yingge Yang) arriving in the village from China to film a documentary. Greeted by Maggie (Margaret Catteril) with whom she is staying, Lori also the long dead socialist vicar Conrad Noel (voiced by Adam Ganz) speaking to her.
Having been introduced to the village inhabitants, director and writer Martin Isaacs and Adam Ganz respectively, concentrate on Arsenal fanatic Keith (Keith Martin).
Mourning the death of his wife Sue ( Lori sets about her questions with a refreshing directness, possibly rude to some that Keith takes on the chin. Here Lori is also visited by the ghost of Keith’s dead wife who is unhappy with the epitaph on the gravestone.
One of the reasons is the arrival of Keith’s pal the nefarious ‘Uncle’(Paul Bettie) just out of jail for money laundering and looking for a bag he left with Sue. The film takes on a more traditional line from here with a fairly cogent plot that also has Morris Dancers lobbed in as well as more contributions from the reverend Noel and the ghost.
Isaacs has gone out of his way to create something original and testing for the audience. The film is heavily death orientated with a least three people mourning losses in their own way, though there are fractures in the set up that let in Noel and Sue to taunt or assist Lori.
At times The Blessed Plot feels like an intellectual exercise for Isaacs and Ganz, using an unprofessional cast. For all the bumph about insight into England’s past and present working within an idealised village to counterpoint the darkness that is arguably descending over England, it could appear a touch more exploitative than maybe the pair had in mind.
That said there are some interesting observations as when Lori comments on Keith’s vast collection of Arsenal memorabilia that it’s a way for him to stop time. Also the petty criminal ‘Uncle’ while have paid some of his dues in prison, his immorality in some sense has gone unpunished which is something that society unfortunately appears to be getting used to and accepting.
There’s very little in the way of character development so little empathy for any of the cast though ‘Uncle’ is obviously seedy as soon as the viewer sets eyes on him.
This Blessed Plot will be in UK cinemas from 26 January 2024.