15 – 94mins – 2017
Mute since his sickly mother passed away, young Jakob’s (Edward Dring) despairing father, Klaus (Marton Csokas), hopes English nurse Verena (Emilia Me Before You Clarke) will succeed where a string of other live-in caregivers have failed and get his mourning heir talking again.
But after moving in to the quarry-owners shadowy and labyrinthine Tuscan castle, the experienced-but-unqualified Verena first suspects stubbornness on Jakob’s part, then mental health issues, before her world is turned upside-down by the dark possibility that the voiceless child is communicating with his dead mother’s voice through the cracked wall in his bedroom! Are supernatural forces at play, or is lonely Verena’s sense of reality warped by her surreal new surroundings?
I wish I knew, but sadly this achingly slow and thoroughly uncompelling period piece is as lacking in clarity as it is in excitement and a dash of colour! Grey and mournful in palette and script, screenwriter Andrew Shaw’s adaptation of Italian author Silvio Raffo’s psychological mystery is clearly aiming for Nicole Kidman chiller The Others in style and atmosphere, but is neither scary nor satisfying enough.
Throw in an irrational and uncomfortable doppelganger-hinting romance between artistic widower and the hired help (which may or may not all be in her head – or his – for large dreamy segments), and some gratuitous nude shots of the Game of Thrones beauty and you really have the carvings of a stone-cold dud. Voice from the Stone is a colourless, dreary and exasperatingly lethargic affair which defies categorisation as much as it defies sense.
I would warn you to avoid it, but after lingering on a studio shelf since principal photography wrapped three years ago, chances are you’ll never get an opportunity to see director Eric Dennis Howell’s plaster-piece. Ahem.
CR@B’s Claw Score: