Diane is a ‘subject film’, utterly devoid of sensationalism, and made with rare artistry: sparse, harrowing, but deeply humane. The result shows Alan Clarke striving for new levels of realism and feeling.
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I won't say why, but at the darkest hour, Diane (played by Janine Duvitski (the mousy woman in Leigh's ABIGAIL'S PARTY)) gives an uninflected, unflinching recitation that left me frozen. Apparently Duvitski practiced this at home numerous times, varying when to cry or scream. For a practice run, Clarke simply had her orate her lines, but he was filming on the sly. This was the only shot of that scene. Agonizing.
Painful insights into some of life's bleaker moments provide this strangely languid television play with a backbone from which to develop its perceptive, but never forced, drama. Duvitski handles the demands of the titular role with aplomb; Clarke as ever a dispassionate onlooker.