Before I start, I’d like to thank Xi for the use of his excellent Book to Movie idea. Given the content of this mega-review, I’ll return it only slightly soiled.
Ian McEwan’s novella The Cement Garden was a novel that I read at school, and stuck with me for much longer afterwards. A haunting dreamlike novel, with a consummately unreliable narrator, it is both celebrated and reviled in equal measure. Having said that, I never for the life of me thought that anyone would be nuts enough, given it’s intensely controversial subject matter, to even attempt to adapt it for the screen. Yet in 1993 Andrew Birkin (remember that last name, it’ll be important later) took a stab at it, and turned in a haunting, lyrical, sombre little film that wasn’t afraid to look at the inherent unpleasantness of the novel’s plot.
OK, here we go. Buckle up, this one’s stormy.