Eden Lake – A Hopelessly Nihilistic Societal Commentary

Eden Lake is one of my favourite films, hopelessly depressive, unrelentingly violent and a narrative on broken families who inhabit an apathetic socioeconomic group. The story of Eden Lake sees Jenny (Kelly Reilly) and Steve (Michael Fassbender) holidaying in a remote part of the English countryside, little do they know their summer idyll is about to be shattered by knife-wielding, amoral thugs.

Eden Lake

Jenny and Steve visit a soon-to-be-demolished countryside location called Eden Lake about to be transformed into a gated community. To keep out whom you may ask; the answer becomes all too clear for Jenny and Steve. They are instantly struck by the beauty and untouched tranquility of the country, miles away from the fast flow of city life. Across the lake some teenagers are playing their music loudly on a stereo, annoyed and eager to impress his girlfriend Steve approaches them and asks them to turn the music down, this proves to be a fatal mistake. What follows is a masochistic descent into chaos, an unsettling study into the group behaviour of misguided youths tarnished by personal tragedy and abuse. This is a story about how a combination of abusive parenting and peer-pressure leads to the dehumanization of what are essentially children.

Eden Lake Dumpster

Eden Lake is a cinematic masterpiece impeccably acted by both Reilly and Fassbender; it is important to note that Reilly is cast as the stronger character of the two, a surprising role reversal and an interesting diversion from the gender stereotype. Eden Lake deals with multiple themes including drug use, peer-pressure and the question of nature vs nurture, are the kids inherently evil or were they made that way by their parents? The film is about the fallout from a crumbling family dynamic; the amorality of the kids is mirrored in the behaviour of their uncaring and apathetic parents. Eden Lake maintains a constant feeling of suspense and tension, the story told with a shocking and relentless realism that makes for an uncomfortable and sobering viewing experience.

Trivia

  • When the gang members have found Cooper dead, in one shot you can see his chest rise.
  • Throughout the movie the amount of blood and dirt on Jenny and Steve can change instantly. An example is when Jenny and Steve are hiding underneath the wooden hut (in the lake.) In one shot Steve’s chin dips into the lake and this causes his chin to become mostly clean from dried blood and dirt. But in the next shot all the dried blood and dirt is suddenly back covering his entire face.
  • Upon returning to the beach, the shadow of a boom mic can be clearly seen.

Rating

  • Acting: 4.5/5
  • Direction: 4/5
  • Second Viewing Value: 3.5/5
  • Tension: 5/5
  • Overall: 4/5
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