Saturday, August 25, 2012

RETREAT (2011) review

Retreat(2011) (1st viewing) d. Tibbetts, Carl (UK)

Mixed bag pressure cooker about an on-the-rocks couple (Cillian Murphy, Thandie Newton) taking a holiday on a remote Scottish isle, with tensions running high long before a mysterious and wounded soldier, played by Jamie Bell, appears on their doorstep, claiming a massive viral outbreak has occurred and commandeering their lodging. While the performances are all capable enough and there is a estimable amount of tension generated when Bell’s story’s starts to feel a little suspicious, the production is hamstrung by the fact that the “two men-one woman alone together” dynamic has been done to death, and there’s no new emotional ground unearthed here. Murphy is a milquetoast who eventually grows a pair when pushed far enough by the alpha male Bell, and Newton is alternately strong or shrieking, depending on the circumstances. The frequent lapses in motivation and resourcefulness left me fairly cold, but I should also state that Murphy and Newton rarely hit my sweet spot anyway, so it could be just personal taste.

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