Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski has been able to create a gripping film [from a story by Robert Graves] that holds attention most of the way through its economical length. It probes a couple beset by a catalyst that breaks their seemingly surface contentment. Film is told by Alan Bates during a cricket match in an asylum.
Bates, a tramp-like figure, accosts a man (John Hurt) outside a church one day. It is a small town and Bates gets invited to dinner and stays. He tells strange tales of how he lived with Australian aborigines and killed his own children when he left and how he learned how to cast various spells, especially a shout that can kill.
Flash forwards indicate Bates will disrupt the couple with one problem of the man apparently dallying with the wife of the local shoemaker.
Hurt is an electronic music composer and his work counterpoints Bates’s shout in a way. The story builds as the listener becomes apprehensive. It crescendos as Bates, in the tale, reduces the wife to his whims.