The terrifying persistence of the past is the theme, and the tendency of the past to seem so much more real and more vivid than anything in the present. Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling play Kate and Geoff Mercer: a retired childless couple living quietly in a beautiful but bleak Norfolk landscape that begins to assume the sinister grandeur of Hardy’s Wessex. Earlier preparations for a 40th anniversary bash were cancelled because of a medical crisis that may or may not have had a psychosomatic element, and from the first there seems something ominously contingent and wrong about the number 45. Related: Charlotte Rampling: ‘You can’t fool an audience with lots of bits and pieces.
- One of the first scenes shows her chatting with a pupil, now the local postman, who can’t help being slightly in awe of her.
- As the drama begins, Kate and Geoff are organising a huge party to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary.
- Courtenay, Rampling and Haigh coolly convey the profound disturbance that this revelation creates, and its aftermath, a slo-mo explosion.