Ruby Baby

Catherine revisits the bleak village she stayed in as a girl, to try to make sense of tragic events.

Genre: Drama

Length: 23:31

Free To View

4.5 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Raphael Klatzko, MH von Loewenstern

Director/s : Lee Mcqueen, 

Writer/s : MH von Loewenstern, 

Actor/s : Hervine De Boodt, Bradley Bissett


Look back in anguish

A stylish and well-groomed woman returns to the bleak English village she visited as a girl, when her mother worked as a farmer’s housekeeper. The backwater village is no chocolate box picture. Two girls insult her at the station just for looking classy. A café owner scoots around creepily on his wheeled office chair, ignoring the spider crawling over his stale cakes. Clearly we are on the boundary where drama meets horror.

Director Lee McQueen (who also plays the seedy café owner), keeps tight control over proceedings. There’s a great sense of place, with the village, the farm and the café typifying a rural England you hope not to discover. It’s superbly shot and lit too, the café all flat fluorescents and formica, the farmhouse’s apparent warmth belying the cold relationship it houses.

The man Catherine has come to meet doesn’t turn up, but calls the café and leaves a message. “He’ll be here when he’s here,” the owner tells her, and it’s all very unsettling. There’s no relief when we flash back to her time here as a girl, and switch to the point of view of the farmer’s son.

Adam echoes his father’s opinion of him into the mirror. “You lazy little shit,” he calls himself, and later spits on the farm’s pigs, and masturbates as he spies on the young Catherine. Adam is superbly played by Bradley Bisset, with no trace of sentimentality. While we sympathise with the boy, we can never like him, and we feel no-one else will either. This is no small matter, because it’s what earns the film’s enigmatic but probably positive ending its power.

Ruby Baby is leaves us to sink into its pained mystery, and is all the better for that. Altogether dark and upsetting, it lingers in the memory.

No screener available