Dark River

  • Year 2017
  • Director Clio Barnard
  • Producers Tracy O'Riordan, Lizzie Francke, Andy Harries, Hugo Heppell
  • Cast Ruth Wilson, Mark Stanley, Sean Bean
  • Music Recorded at Westpoint Studios, London
  • Music Mixed at Air Lyndhurst Studios, London
  • Recording and Mix Engineer Tom Bailey
  • Assistant Recording Engineer Alex Ferguson
  • Assistant Mix Engineer Laurence Anslow
  • Music Consultant Ian Neil
  • Score Supervisor Catherine Manners
  • Assistant Composer Jack Wensley
  • Musicians' Contractor Isobel Griffiths
  • Musicians:
  • Vocals PJ Harvey
  • Guitars Ted Barnes
  • Keyboards Harry Escott
  • Drums Bob Knight
  • Double bass Ali Friend
  • Trombone Andy Wood

Dark River


  • As the film opens to the desolate strains of the English folk standard An Acre of Land – performed with spine-tingling intensity by PJ Harvey – Alice receives news of her father’s death. Warily, she returns to her decaying childhood farm in North Yorkshire to claim what she believes she’s entitled to, although her irascible, down-trodden older brother Joe (Game of Thrones’ Mark Stanley) isn’t going to let that happen easily.

    Patrick Smith The Telegraph
  • “Dark River” is a raw ballad of doom and damage, woven through with a musical version of the traditional children’s rhyme “An Acre of Land” (sung with haunting clarity by PJ Harvey)

    Jeannette Catsoulis The New York Times
  • Clio Barnard’s Dark River is a brooding rural drama, set deep in the Yorkshire countryside. The haunting atmosphere is established by the mournful folk song, “An Acre Of Land”, performed by PJ Harvey. Dialogue is kept very sparse. Barnard’s narrative style is elliptical and mysterious. The sun rarely shines. Nonetheless, the film has an impressive intensity. Although it is set in the present day, it evokes memories of some of the bleaker Thomas Hardy adaptations or even of Wuthering Heights.

    Geoffrey Mcnab The Independent



Acre of land soundtrack
“it’s rich, immersive, and full of depth… press play and imagine you are breathing in big gulps of fresh, unpolluted air and chasing after sheep” Noisey (VICE) Premiere

“stunning” Crack Magazine

“It’s a total stunner, stark and mesmerizing” Stereogum

“bold and breathless” the Line of Best Fit

“PJ’s delicate vocals do a great job of carrying the emotional weight of the track” Brooklyn Vegan

“expertly setting the mood [of the film]” Exclaim!

“the track truly stuns with its beauty and while not a simple track, with layers of instrumentation supporting Harvey, it’s direct and easily enjoyed” Cool Hunting

Listen on Spotify


  • British Independent Film Awards 2017

    Best Actress
    Ruth Wilson

  • Toronto International Film Festival 2017

    Platform Prize – Honorable Mention
    Clio Barnard

  • Montclair Film Festival 2018

    Narrative Feature Competition