Review: Six Years Gone

Written and directed by Warren Dudley, six years on from the chilling abduction of her beautiful daughter, Carrie Dawson’s life has fallen into ruin. However, as the clues begin to surface about her little girl’s disappearance, she’s ready to put everything on the line to end her nightmare. Starring: Veronica Jean Trickett, Sarah Priddy, Glenn Salvage, Russell Shaw, Fintan Shevlin, Karl Kennedy-Williams, Kerri Hedley-Cheney and Anna Griffiths.

Taking on a harrowing topic such as child abduction is a challenge for any film, but it’s always an extra challenge for independent films on a small budget, which is why it’s impressive how well Six Years Gone rises to that challenge. A big part of that is not trying to exist beyond its limits, it doesn’t add unnecessary layers or tangents, it stays focused on the story at hand. Its ending does push that limit and the choices it makes may be heavier than it has the reach to fully achieve but they were risks worth taking. It’s difficult to convincingly capture a grim atmosphere but Warren Dudley does it well, it’s grounded and broken, portraying an authentic struggle.

Although the direction doesn’t feel as consistent as the writing, the camera work can often be fairly shaky. You can understand the desire to go handheld and reflect the raw nature of the story but unfortunately it can become a distraction, losing out on a stillness to provide more space for the emotion to land. Outside of that, the cinematography captures the mundane side, the depressing tone to Carrie’s (Veronica Jean Trickett) life as she spirals downward. The pacing and progression are mostly on the money, the only thing that’s slightly off the mark is how the ending plays out. It can feel a tad rushed compared with the rest of the film, it’s been built up so much that it would have been satisfying to see it play out a bit longer.

Veronica Jean Trickett is without doubt the centre of the film and it’s a tough role to take on but she really commits to it. Her portrayal feels real and the deterioration of her character feels convincing, it’s nicely gradual yet a steep change. She can hit that emotional note a little bit too hard in a couple of scenes but again, it’s something that feels like an understandable choice and interpretation of her character.

The other key character who gets a good chunk of screen time is Carrie’s mother Mary, played by Sarah Priddy and her performance is surprisingly moving. It’s the struggle within the struggle, her declining health which puts Mary at odds with her daughter, having to solely depend on her. It creates a compelling conflict between the two of them. The only outlier perhaps with the cast is having Lolly be eleven years old in the beginning of the film while played by an actress who looks at youngest fifteen. It’s a relatively small detail in the bigger picture but it does stand out.

Six Years Gone is a moving portrayal of a parent’s worst nightmare. Veronica Jean Trickett does a great job of capturing the descent of a mother after their child is taken. The style is down to earth and the story keeps a strong focus on Carrie’s journey, following a tense and winding path. It manages to instil an impressive amount of authenticity, which should not be underestimated.

Verdict: ✯✯✯½ | 7/10

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