A last-minute flurry of action and a final plot twist aren’t enough to redeem this busy but tedious thriller.
While hauling two hooded prisoners through a wooded landscape, a British mercenary unit finds itself terrorized by a hulking stranger in a gas mask. Injured, low on water, and on the verge of a collective nervous breakdown, the surviving group of six — three women, three men — take refuge in an ancient armored tank, only to find they’ve trapped themselves.
Writer-director Nick Gillespie, making his feature debut after earning his stripes as camera operator for acclaimed director Ben Wheatley (High-Rise, The Kill Shot), has made a film with hallucinatory visual textures that raise questions — Is this a post-apocalyptic world? Is gas-mask man real? — but fails to offer one character we can hang our hat on.
Trapping his cast in a tight space is daring, but Gillespie hasn’t given his six good actors, among them Rupert Evans and Gordon Kennedy, much to say beyond shouted variations on the word “fuck.” They scream “fuck” so much you might be tempted to start counting, which in turn may explain why the final plot twist is such an empty trick. Who cares, and good grief, didn’t TV’s The Outer Limits do this in the 1960s, when being maddeningly vague was all the rage?
Directed by Nick Gillespie
Opens November 25, IFC Center