Review – UNDER MILK WOOD (Kevin Allen, 2015, UK)

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UNDER MILK WOOD || 2015, UK || Drama || Directed by – Kevin Allen / Written by – Kevin Allen, Dylan Thomas / Produced by – Kevin Allen, Rhys Ifans, Jonathan Hunter, Jon Jones, Gwawr Martha Lloyd, Stephan Malit, Hannah Thomas / Music by – Mark Thomas / Cinematography by – Andy Hollis / Editing by – Sara Jones / Production design – Marie Lanna / Starring – Rhys Ifans, Julian Lewis Jones, Charlotte Church / Running time: 87 mins.

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“Under Milk Wood” by Kevin Allen (2015, UK)

Under Milk Wood by Kevin Allen is not your typical adaptation of a work by an esteemed literary figure. But somehow, a linear adaptation just wouldn’t have suited an imagining of the writings of such an incindiary figure as Dylan Thomas. Under Milk Wood was the radio play he composed for the BBC, and made even more famous by subsequent adaptations, the most famous of which prominently featured the great actor Richard Burton.

Its narrative is very free, as is this cinematic rendition, and its language excitingly provides an insight in the minds of the inhabitants of a small fishing village, most of which seem to derive from pubescent sexual desires. Anyone expecting the typical by the book film, and to be engaged by the film in a conventional way, should find the viewing experience disappointing. In fact the film interacts with the viewer through such a rich and vivid palette and array of images, that it is virtually impossible to truly follow its strict narrative arch.

On the other hand, Under Milk Wood aims to open up the cinematic medium, and allows certain freedoms for a viewer, who can just as easily admire the film by closing his or her eyes and admire the words, or keep them open and be swept away by the quasi-gothic, experimental and sometimes cartoonish visuals. It is also one of those films that is bound to reveal surprises and charming elements upon repeated viewing. – 3/5

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