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  • Writer's pictureEllis Barthorpe

Where the Crawdads Sing ★★

Olivia Newman

Starring Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, David Strathairn

Based on the book of the same name, Where the Crawdads Sing sees Daisy Edgar-Jones play Kya, an abandoned young woman living all alone in the marshes, outside of her small town. When an ex-lover is found dead, she becomes the main suspect.

The plot is gripping and story is all there, introducing supporting characters effortlessly yet always keeping Kya as the centre of attention; but that plot unfortunately is not told in the most exciting way. A non-linear narrative structure means that plot pieces unfold at the same time as a sort case rallies on; and that court case creates the best moments in the film, thanks to David Strathairn's introverted performance of lawyer Tom Milton.

The dialogue is awkward and often misplaced with seriously delivered lines coming across comedic. And all of this would perhaps be more forgiven if it was a more independent project. But considering the talent involved and the budget behind them, it begs the question: why is it so indistinctive?

This is publicised and marketed as a fast-paced, exciting thriller following in the footsteps of Delia Owens' novel, but instead it's a slow-burning, occasionally romantic and uninspired soft drama that, much like its titular characters, never quite sings.

Where the Crawdads Sing available in select cinemas now

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