An abundance of marsh gas

Where The Crawdads Sing (15, 126 minutes)

The biggest trap you can fall into with an adaptation of a bestselling novel is to incorporate narration. It’s either to cover the gaps in a badly executed screenplay or it turns a film into a bedtime story – and this rumination on abandonment and the lifetime of mistrust it creates does it uncomfortably early.

Hollywood was always going to come calling on Daisy Edgar-Jones’s door after her magnificent performance in TV’s Normal People and she is certainly a saving grace here as Kya, a girl on trial for the murder of a local rich kid in a late 1960s North Carolina community.

And here lies the big question mark – how does a girl left to fend for herself alone in the marshes from a very young age grow into a free-spirited Shakesparean nymph with a telent for drawing rather than some feral, raw crayfish-eating, savage? And that’s accepting that she didn’t get eaten by gators before her 13th birthday.

It’s a sanitised reflection of the times and the environment with a murder trial that I expect has Harper Lee turning in her grave.

As the minutes tick by like hours towards the inevitable twist in the tale and Kya stands firm on her not guilty plea the urge to shout “so show us what happened already” at the screen has to be stifled by liberal sucks on the straw poking out of my almost as uninviting and vastly over priced Pepsi Max

Then when the denouement is finally revealed, rather than being climactic, it’s a damper squib than a haul of fish who died of old age before floating into the net.

Daisy’s film career should be set if she wants it, but this mindless dirge of a film leaves one ruing the fact that you’re never getting those two hours back.

RATING: 4/10

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Mick Ferris

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