Review: Una (Benedict Andrews, 2016)

A film adaptation of David Harrower’s play Blackbird has been in development for much of the decade plus since its premiere in 2005, but never quite got off the ground for various reasons. One of those may well concern the transition of a two-hander play, confined to one setting, into something more obviously ‘cinematic’. This is something Benedict Andrews, a Blackbird veteran of the stage, opens up considerably for Una, his directorial debut. There are new events, new locations, flashbacks, and new supporting characters.

The more likely reason for the play’s staggered transition to the screen, though, is its subject matter. Loosely inspired by the crimes of sex offender Toby Studebaker, both Blackbird and Una depict the tense encounter between a late-20s woman and a middle-aged man, the latter of whom sexually abused the former 15 years prior, when consummating their relationship that had lasted a few months…

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