Film review: The Rising by Nick Jordan

The Rising depicts the cyclic process of expansion of an unknown plant in the English marshy countryside and the attempt by a group of teenagers to attenuate its inexorable growth. It's not just about a primordial conflict between human and nature: it's clear that the intent of Nick Jordan goes much beyond. At its core, The Rising wants to be a film about isolation and alienation inspired by an environmental conflict that, linked to the fear of Otherness (the plant), takes on the tones of a dystopian sci-fi. 

The observational mode, in the style of a naturalistic documentary approach at the beginning, is supported by a dark soundtrack characterized by electronic bass tones with glimpses of high frequency peaks, a disturbing mark of an upcoming event that is going to be unrelenting. In conformity with the main issue evoked, all is anonymous and as such goes beyond site specificity. We don't know anything about the Alien/plant, nor about the kids. The only form of communication is an act of destruction, the lack of dialogue increasing the sense of loss. 

If we try to make a guess in the operation of contextualizing the message beyond the represented world, The Rising resounds in the ever-spreading success of national and xenophobic movements in Europe, on the rise again after a cyclic crisis of the system. This point of view could make The Rising an interesting environment-based attempt of a discourse where disruptive aliena(c)tion wallows in the lake of the present situation. The choice of teens as characters is part of an “alarm bell” that the film probably wants to ring, and the image of the plant as scapegoat and sacrificial victim points in the directions of our contemporary emergencies (a reference to the provocative symbology of San Sebastian's mortified body?). However, it might be pointed out that what is shocking for the viewer is a lack of even a glimmer of hope, and that's the main point of criticism, especially due to the choice of representing the younger generation. 

Author: Yuri Lavecchia*

Title: The Rising

Director: Nick Jordan

Year: 2014

Run time: 14'30''

Genre: Documentary

Country: UK

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*Every day Cineuropa Shorts, in collaboration with Nisimazine and Lago Film Fest (18-26 July), offers you film reviews and interviews made in Lago by the brilliant Nisimazine’s team of young journalists.

21 July 2014, by Nisimazine