Retreat - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Retreat Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 8, 2016
The poor man's 10 Cloverfield Lane, with a less stupid name, a better ending, and a worse everything else. Still pretty good though.
½ June 3, 2016
Not anything too exciting, but not horrible either.
September 18, 2015
I suppose there was potential here, I suppose they did something with that potential even, but ultimately some of the behavior and personalities were so erratic that it felt impossible. By no fault of the actors, I never really bought into the story's male leads. I had to ask, "What?!? Why would you...?" too many times.
½ June 16, 2015
I started this movie thinking it would be horrible, but I was surprised with it.
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.
Super Reviewer
½ January 18, 2015
Well acted three-hander but the story is derivative as all hell and the characters aren't particularly interesting.
½ November 30, 2014
Great story with an ending you don't see coming. I found one scene in particular to be particularly moving which made the whole thing that much more memorable. Definitely a great film.
Super Reviewer
November 10, 2014
Retreat is one of those rare instances, of a film that is slow moving, with a simple story, but strangely fascinating. Films like this are completely reliant on the cast and most times simply don't work, but for some reason, I was really into Retreat and had to know if it was going to end the way I thought it would. As I said, the story isn't that unique, as it features a young couple, who try to reconnect on a secluded island off the cost of England. The island is a rich persons retreat and features one large cottage, that is occupied by one couple at a time. Martin and Kate think that it will be the perfect spot to reconnect, after the recent loss of a child, but the ideal retreat, soon becomes a hell on earth. A member of the army, a man named Jack (Jamie Bell) shows up in bad shape. When he wakes up, Jack informs the couple that a virus has taken hold over the mainland and if they leave the cottage, they could catch it. At first the couple goes along with Jack, but as his behavior becomes more irrational, the couple starts to question weather or not he's actually telling the truth. When you break the film down, it's three people in a cottage on an island, which doesn't sound very interesting, and the only reason this film works is Jamie Bell. The young star who got his start in Billy Elliott almost 15 years ago, has become a modern day Da Vinci in Hollywood, as he is seemingly everywhere and takes on all kinds of roles. Bell is as much an enigma as this film, as the last film I saw him in was some comedy, that was so bad I turned it off. A few months later, he's in this film and outshines everyone. If it wasn't for Bell's character and the fascination in finding out, what's in his head, this a film that would have gone nowhere. Jamie Bell is the key and really does give one of his best performances. Looking back and thinking about this film, it really wasn't anything special, except for one actor who makes all the difference. If you're into great performances, then Retreat is for you, but if you're more into the story then you might want to skip this one.
½ November 3, 2014
One of the most pointless movies I've ever seen.
½ September 29, 2014
A very interesting Suspense flick by Carl tibbetts that is like a stronger version of Straw Dogs. Amazing acting by these characters, handled the scripts very well that just gives more intensity. Plot Shakens while the whole twist gives tension as well.
August 15, 2014
I didn't enjoy this at all for some reason.
½ June 14, 2014
Aside from the one glaringly obvious plot hole, the movie was really well done. I stayed up to watch the whole thing even though I was exhausted and ready to sleep. Once I prepped my mind to accept the premise, I was able to enjoy the stellar cast and Hitchcockian atmosphere. And the ending!! Worth losing some zzzz's.
May 14, 2014
Following a personal tragedy, Kate (Thandie Newton) and Martin (Cillian Murphy) try to repair their strained relationship by revisiting a remote island cottage where they were once happy. But their retreat proves more isolated than expected. The generator shorts out, radio signals prove increasingly erratic and the cracks in their relationship start to grow worse. Then one day an injured soldier (Jamie Bell) is washed ashore. He claims that a lethal airborne virus is devastating the outside world, and they must barricade themselves inside the cottage if they want to survive. But is he telling the truth...?
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ April 19, 2014
"'Retreat, retreat, retreat', cries my heart!" Man, I'm old, so maybe I should have bit my tongue and promoted 21st century music by referencing the song by The Rakes, because it's release is closer to this film's, and it's also startlingly British. Mind you, for post-punk revival, it's still about as cheesy as the 1950s pop song I ended up referencing, and make no mistake, folks, this isn't quite as lighthearted as "Couples Retreat", which you shouldn't mistake it for, even though it can't be too much less exciting than this film. Well, I mean, I don't know how exciting you can make a thriller that actually proposes retreating in its title, although I might just be saying that either because you can't look at that title and help thinking of the French, who you can't think of without thinking about dull films. It doesn't exactly help that "28 Weeks Later" stood to be more exciting, leaving you with a little concern that this, "28 Months Later", or whatever, isn't bound to be too thrilling, especially considering that it doesn't even involve a zombie-esque virus pandemic. Jokes aside, looking at "Peacock" as the sister... or brother dressed as a sister film to "Breakfast on Pluto", - another film about transvestism - a now this film about a few people trying to escape from a viral pandemic, it would appear that the early 2010s are seeing Cillian Murphy looking to, if you will, "retreat" to some of his classic roles. I guess I'm okay with that, because roles like these usually beget quality performances from Murphy, as well as pretty decent films, but this is more "28 Weeks Later" than "28 Days Later", what with its setbacks.

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
½ April 16, 2014
Godt udtænkt, og overvejende velspillet, "high concept" thriller, der ikke giver nogle lette svar undervejs. Taber lidt intensitet i den midterste del, og er også forbandet af det klassiske "lad-nu-være-med-at-gøre-sådan-nogle-dumme-ting"-syndrom, men ikke i en sådan grad, at det ødelægger fornøjelsen.
March 25, 2014
It was decent and suspenseful. The plot was interesting and for only having three actors in the movie it was paced very well. It had a very predictable ending though. Worth a watch.
March 4, 2014
a great mystery thriller with an epic twist
acting:not the best but that is be use I hate thandie newton but apart from that... epic
½ January 14, 2014
Its all a bit Ho Hum from the get go. Good talent in front of the camera and the production values are good enough, but it doesn't really go anywhere and its twist could be seen by a blind budgie.
December 30, 2013
Thrilling, yet incredibly bleak. Despite an interesting concept and some good performances on the part of the cast, Retreat is a thriller that starts out dreary, and ends the same way. Plus, the reveal at the end of the film treats the audience like they hadn't been paying attention the whole time. There's not much fun to be had here.

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.
December 8, 2013
an interesting premise that takes way too long to payoff and just meanders until the last 10 minutes.
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