UNION BRIDGE *** USA 2019 Dir: Brian Levin. 96 mins
“The Gods visit the sins of the fathers upon the children” Euripides.
Union bridge is an effective and evocative debut from Brian Levin, whose use of the southern gothic sub-genre to tell a tale of the past sins of ancestors bleeding into present generations; this really does say a lot about where we are as a society.
Our tale is set in the small and quite Maryland town in America where the looming site of the local powerplant is in conflict with the natural beauty of the idyllic little town. Our story focuses on Will Snipe’s (Scott Friend) re-emergence to his home town, disillusioned and burnt out by his time in the city. He reluctantly settles back into his home town and old relationships much to the disgust of his mother. Will soon begins to discover dark truths about his family and the town in which he grew up.
Union Bridge’s deliberate slow pace and melancholic feel is beautifully paced by Brian Levin, with his use of dream like flashbacks that bleed into the present like an open flesh wound; the horror is always hinted at which creates a foreboding atmosphere of dread. The cinematography is sumptuous in its use of compositions of nature vs modern life, the score’s deep pulsating base feels like a vein waiting to burst and bleed and is perfectly set against the films subtle execution. The subtle hints at witchcraft, substance abuse and broken parental
bonds are all downplayed here and the film’s focus is much more around the family secrets that threaten to destroy everyone connected to them. All the characters are believable in their self-grandiose sense of self, and the actors do an exceptional job at not tipping over the edge into melodrama keeping the subtlety of their respective arcs.
My only reservation would be that this film won’t appeal to mass audiences with its refusal to sit in one genre. In this day and age of fast paced genre clichés and atypical stories this one might feel dated to some. I for one thoroughly enjoyed losing myself in the dark subtlety of Union Bridge, and would highly recommend it to all those who seek films that are confident in taking their time to fully tell a story.
Review by Kemal Yildirim