Retreat

Journalist Kate and her architect husband Martin have retreated to an isolated guest cottage on an uninhabited island off the British coast to heal from a traumatic miscarriage that’s clearly threatening to tear their marriage apart. Shortly though, the CB radio goes dead, and the generator explodes, leaving them completely cut off from the outside world. So when Jack, a young soldier, stumbles onto the property, his head streaming with blood, making wild claims about a deadly and incurable virus that has hit the mainland, they are completely at his mercy. Whether he’s telling the truth though, that’s the thing – or maybe he’s just a complete pyscho out to do them harm.

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Retreat reminded me of that old Aussie film Dead Calm – three isolated protagonists trapped in a claustrophobic circumstances, where one of them just might be a nutter. But it’s very well made, the tension rises inexcorably and the three -handed cast – Cillian Murphy, Jamie Bell, Thandie Newton – all bring far more to their roles than the script might have suggested to lesser actors. A surprisingly elegant score too. Although it’s not going to blow you away with originality, all in all, I thought it was a great little British film. Bravo, chaps.

PS. Although the aerial shots of the island are from the Outer Hebrides, everything else was filmed in on location in Gwynedd in Wales. And although it’s a listed building, you can actually stay in the Plas Llandecwyn house.

Man on a Ledge

The title says it all, really: Aussie Brickie Sam Worthington spends an entire movie stuck on a ledge, twenty-something floors up and on the outside of the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan. Elizabeth Banks is the cop who has to talk him down, Ed Harris the corrupt businessman that Sam’s trying to nab in the most unlikely of manners. And yet, given the static scenario of the title, it works, quite surprisingly – a kind of poor man’s Inside Man, but one that works nonetheless.

New York looks great from up on that ledge, and the Roosevelt – chosen because the producer shot the so-so chiller 1408 there, but perhaps more famous for Ralph Fiennes’ romcom (seriously!) Maid in Manhattan – gets some pretty enviable screen-time.

The Eagle

Forgive me for being shallow, but The Eagle – sort of Centurion meets King Arthur – looks too entirely fabulous. Given the male leads, I wonder if there’s a dance routine?