Even though the movie is basically just based inside a little hut on an island with no one around, it was a good watch. The little twist is good, and ending was good too. Worth a watch I reckon.
Really, I've joked and joked about how this is yet another pandemic film featuring Cillian Murphy, but this doesn't really follow the formula of something like "28 Days Later", instead taking from formulas of island thriller by the fistful, being almost too conventional to keep a degree of unpredictability alive, and therefore at least familiar to the point of being kind of bland. To make matters worse, some of the tropes taken are heavy-handed dramatics, which are limited in quantity, and even severity, but nonetheless present, defusing much of the genuineness of this thriller which ostensibly thrives on the believability of its characters' situations. Quite frankly, this film isn't exactly doing a great job in a lot of ways as a character study, because the film's histrionics could perhaps be easier to buy into if Janice Hallett's and Carl Tibbetts' script put more work into selling the characters, whose lack of immediate development and somewhat sparse gradual exposition can be gotten used to after a while, but never prevent a sense of distance between you and the characters. As if that's not aggravating enough, the film still finds some time to drag its feet with excess that, while at its worst during a meandering, yet still underdeveloped first act, constantly struggles to give this narrative something to work with, until it begins to all but lose focus. Well, I don't reckon you ever lose your grip on what this film is trying to say, it's just that the film is aimless in its deliverance of such a message, combining underdevelopment, dragging and a hint of a sense of predictability in order to meander in a fashion that is more reflective of the lack of material in this story, rather than the wealth of it. Running exactly a mere 90 minutes, this film still drags its feet, and what that tells you is that this story was never to have much depth to flesh out, being tense in its minimalism, but minimalist nevertheless, with only so much potential that is still done something of an injustice by familiar, histrionic, undercooked and draggy storytelling. When it's all said and done, the film is kind of forgettable, yet it doesn't squander your time, having its share of misguided elements, and just as many sharp elements.
Atmosphere plays a big part in driving this thriller, and Ilan Eshkeri's score plays a big part in driving the atmosphere, being very prominent throughout the film, and carrying a bite to its more subdued elements that sustains musical and atmospheric intrigue, with slightly more colorful compositions whose gloomy beauty haunts. The visual style of the film also immerses, as Chris Seager's tasteful, sparse lighting plays are both handsome and complimentary to a sense of isolation, but not without the help of bleak island locations that are broad enough to give you a feel for the environment, but tight enough to further reinforce a sense of claustrophobia, which, as you can imagine, drives a film of this type. Minimalist and not even unique as a meditation more on the intensity on shaky human interactions in an isolated setting, rather than the dramatic depth, this story doesn't carry much potential, which still finds itself betrayed at times, and yet, intrigue stands pretty firm in this film's concept, and when it comes to the execution, Janice Hallett and Carl Tibbetts pen a script with some memorable, if underdeveloped characters and conflicts, with some nifty moments of sudden inspiration. The film is formulaic, but I don't know if it's technically all that predictable, for there is a solid twist that is well worth waiting for through all the meandering, a challenge settled by some genuine inspiration to the interpretation of an interesting idea. The direction also deserves recognition for crafting the most effective moments of this film, if not the fair degree of entertainment value that stands throughout the final product, feeding off of Tibbetts' directorial plays on chilling score work and disconcerting visuals that establish consistent tension, highlighted by some weighty intensity, kind of like the performances. Intensity is just as well-encompassed within the three central performance that, of course, receive about as much attention as anything in this character-driven thriller, and do about as much as anything in bringing this thriller to life, relatively speaking that is, for although dramatic material is limited, the fear and harshness projected by Cillian Murphy, Thandie Newton and Jamie Bell sell the gradual sense of dehumanization which this study on dangerous human interactions in a claustrophobic setting ought to have. The storytelling doesn't do as consistently solid of a job at projecting the depths of this thriller as the performers, but when heights in storytelling inspiration meet the consistent inspiration in acting, there's enough drive in this thriller to compel and hold your investment, even if it doesn't hold your memory as firmly.
When it is, in fact, time to retreat, a lack of originality and an inconsistency in uniqueness, expository depth and pacing to the telling of a minimalist story make for a somewhat forgettable thriller, kept alive by chilling scoring and visuals, heights in writing and direction, and strong performances by Cillian Murphy, Thandie Newton and Jamie Bell, until Carl Tibbetts' "Retreat" is left standing as a decent and often pretty effective, if underwhelming bottle thriller.
2.5/5 - Fair
acting:not the best but that is be use I hate thandie newton but apart from that... epic
The Good: Jamie Bell - I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Jamie Bell's performance in this film. I don't know if I've ever seen him in much before, but he did a spectacular job as the possible villain/possible hero in the film. You were never sure you could trust him, but one thing was sure, you never wanted to be alone with him. He had a sleazy and creepy quality about him that made you feel incredibly uncomfortable.
Thrilling - The one thing the film does really well is creating moments of dramatic tension. Whether it's a scene of dialogue between two characters or whether it's when Murphy's character tries to remove a gun from Bell's unconscious soldier, director Carl Tibbets knows how to keep the tension tight.
The Bad: The tone - As I've already stated, this film is overwhelmingly bleak. Even in the first act of the film, there's nothing to love about these characters, no scene that gives you a reason to want to fight for these characters. You get the feeling they're going to fall apart with or without the catalyst introduced in the second act. Even the lighting in the film is incredibly bleak, and the color pallette is pretty muted. For a thriller to be truly affecting there should be some moment of hope, something worth fighting for.
The twist - When the reveal (or should I say many reveals) at the end of the film occurs, my mind began poking so many holes in what had previously happened, that I felt like the creators didn't even consider that I might be carefully watching the film. None of it makes a whole lot of sense, and just feels like the director is just trying to throw you off guard.
The Smugly (Movie snob nitpicks): Sexual assualt - Why does every "end of the world" type thriller have to have some fear of impending sexual assault. It doesn't make much sense within the context of the film, especially at the end of the film in hindsight. It just struck me wrong.