Dead Northern 2023 Review – Perfectly Good Moment

Devotion, intensity, desire, all the small details that make a relationship burst with passion also have the potential to turn poisonous, embedding romance with toxicity. Victim to this cruel spate of love is Ruby (Amanda Jane Stern), who has been with her on-and-off partner David (Stephen Carlilse) for eight years. After a six-month break, Ruby returns to David, hoping for another chance of reconciliation. However, this time round the pair might not make it for another reunion.

Perfectly Good Moment captures the cinematic brilliance of tense, psychosexual thrillers, as director Lauren Greenhall weaponises the small cast to create an intimate and uncomfortably close environment where the deep seeded  trauma of the narrative thrives; particularly at the hands of Ruby. David’s bond with Ruby is rife with manipulation: demanding her on what to do, how to act, how to live. Yet, rather than Greenhall, simply ‘showing’ the pattern of abuse in the archetypal way, she develops Ruby’s character with a spark of agency. Whilst the gritty details are best left to the viewer’s surprise, what can be noted is that Perfectly Good Moment bites back, unveiling ‘hidden’ abuse and showing that Ruby (representing all women) are not weak, feeble beings willing to put up with the David’s of the world. 

The film’s captivating intrigue does not stop at the proverbial narrative buck as Perfectly Good Moment is secondarily adorned with hauntingly raw camerawork that both captivates and intensifies the emotional richness of the story. Greenhall, along with cinematographer Matt Braunsdorf exercise the hazy, deadly romance essence with each frame basking in a dream-like aura that takes advantage of the film’s warm, almost autumnal lighting to create a landscape visually quaint with harmony; which stunningly and strikingly juxtaposes against the film’s brutal, harsh, and sinister undertones.

As if the atmosphere and hazed tonal qualities were not enough, the film further aggravates the impassioned emotionality of it all through the intricate and touching performances from leads, Stern and Carlilse. Together the duo enact a candid relationship, where the vigour of the striking story thrives, propelling Perfectly Good Moment to be a work that truly stands out. 

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