Silence. Slow pans. Wilderness. You could hear a pin drop in the opening scenes of The Passing. This ambience invitingly allows the audience to voyeuristically peer into the world of Stanley (Mark Lewis Jones), a lonesome, awkward man that lives by himself in rural Wales, in a house that resembles something of a time warp.
The audience enters Stanley’s world just before a young couple crash their car into a ravine, breaking his solitude. Rescuing the couple, he brings them back to his house in the desolate Welsh woods to give them time to rest and recuperate.
The environment purposefully plays such a significant part in the film and could almost count as a fourth character, the rest being made-up of only Stanley and the couple, Sara (Annes Elwy) and Iwan (Dyfan Dwyfor).
As the plot draws on we sink into the characters, understanding the complexities between Sara and Iwan and what kind of trauma that has besieged Stanley in order for him to exist the way he does.
The couple, Sara and Iwan, are explosive and passionate. They seem uncomfortable in each others company and Sara is drawn to the innocence and sincerity of Stanley, something that Iwan detects. Sara’s discomfort towards Iwan is compromised by her comfort of the house and it’s surroundings, where she feels at home. Again, Iwan feels unnatural and wishes to leave as soon as he has repaid Stanley by helping him finish the construction of a well.
Stanley is a troubled soul that has chosen to be encapsulated by loneliness. He lives a simple life and the on-going mystery of the film is to unravel his supernatural peculiarity, something that will keep you guessing from the first minute of the film.
The Passing marks the debut of director Gareth Bryn. He has chosen a simple premise for the film but an extremely complex way to tell it; with each character being vastly different it sometimes becomes overwhelming and rigid. Contrastingly, the sheer beauty of this film comes from the cinematography, which successfully displays an emotive and reclusive collective trio.
Frustratingly, Bryn’s debut oozes potential but it will most likely leave you feeling that the tempo could have been slightly faster without sacrificing any of the suspense and enchantment.
A refreshing detail that enables further intrigue from The Passing is that the spoken language is Welsh, it is sonically beautiful yet eerie and combines with the atmosphere and tone of the film perfectly.