The present is a different story, we see Hinds stumbling in drunken bouts of grief and rage, visited by spectral memories of his wife as is she is gradually consumed by cancer. Brief, soft conversations are held with Miss Vavasour, and the only other resident of the boarding house, the aged Blunden (Karl Johnson). Hinds is our Virgil, guiding us through this web of memories, but he is not to be trusted. Addled by alcohol and consumed by grief, Morden retreats to the past to attempt to understand his present, or at the very least finally lay to rest a sense of guilt that has plagued him for decades. Jumping between timelines creates an ethereal, otherworldly atmosphere.
Themes of class divide, sickness and aging are woven together, but all lack the depth and immersive quality that is found in Banville's novel. Brown's The Sea loses the dexterous fluidity of the novel, its hypnotic quality that draws you deeper and deeper into Max's character. As always with film, exposition is in action and dialogue, and whilst the stalwart talents involved bolster this drama, we soon realise that the fascination is not to be found in what is happening, but how what is happening (or happened) is handled. Disappointingly, it would appear Brown currently lacks the necessary deftness of touch not to sink beneath the weight of Banville's source text.