Black Jack ★★★½

One could say that the plot shows Tolly (Stephen Hirst) losing his innocence, but the world of BLACK JACK was never enchanted to begin with. It feels almost medieval. The film has a kinship to the bleak morality plays of Bresson’s MOUCHETTE and AU HAZARD BALTHASAR, but it’s devoid of their Christian reference points and possibilities of redemption. Tolly treats horrifying experiences like working with the bodies of hanged corpses, in a matter-of-fact fashion, because he has no other way of getting through life. The sweetness of his love for Belle exists side-by-side with the way her family gaslit her and throw her away. The politics usually made explicit in Loach’s work are certainly present here, but expressed by the way the world of BLACK JACK is shaped.

Full review on Screen Slate here: