I truly love those typical 'rural' British thrillers from the late 60's and early 70's! They practically always revolve on hugely controversial topics and feature heavy macabre undertones, and yet they remain very stylish, sophisticated and classy. A couple of notorious examples include "Unman, Wittering and Zigo", "Deadly Strangers", "Crescendo", "Girly", "Twisted Nerve" and some of Hammer's lesser promoted thrillers like "Never Take Candy from Strangers" and "Paranoia". David Greene's "I Start Counting" is also an excellent addition to this list. The principal coming-of-age story is basically already an anathema, but then this plot is simultaneously interwoven with a grim tale of a serial killer on the loose in a small picturesque British village. I was already a great fan of the lovely Jenny Agutter thanks to "An American Werewolf in London" and "Logan's Run", but after seeing this film she's truly immortal to me. Agutter gives away a stellar tour-de-force performance as the cherubic and curious 14 year old Wynne. The romantically inexperienced pubescent girl has a tremendous crush on her 32 year old foster brother and openly talks about her feelings with her school friend Corinne, who claims to have had sex with several boys already. During all her secretly observing and spying, Wynne begins to suspect, however, that her beloved brother George might be the maniac responsible for several gruesome yet unsolved murders. Where do the nail scratches on his back come from? Why are there bloodstains on the white sweater that Wynne made for him? Strangely enough, the more convinced Wynne gets regarding her brother's guilt, the more her feelings grow intense and obsessive. The young girl even convinces herself that she must rescue George, as the rest of the world won't understand him. "I Start Counting" is a slowly unfolding, captivating and often uncomfortable film that is made even more excellent thanks to the wondrous use of music like the title song (although some fans of the genre might not like this), beautiful images of the South-East British countryside and great work from the ensemble cast. The thriller elements surprisingly go well with the coming-of-age theme. The serial killer plot is occasionally very creepy, whereas Wynne's extreme devotion for her brother is also quite disturbing but in a completely different way. "I Start Counting" absolutely is a unique film; what they call a real gem of a great but sadly forgotten cinematic era. It pleases me to see that the film nevertheless has a few devoted fans here on this site.
I Start Counting
I Start Counting
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A 14-year-old girl coming to terms with her sexuality, discovers that her adored older brother may be guilty of a series of bizarre sex crimes.
November 11, 2020