My rating: 3/5
The basic premise of this film is one that intrigued me in its simplicity. The story takes place in Los Angeles where a series of "dirty bombs" (germ warfare) have been detonated all over the city. All residents are told to seal up their houses and not allow people who may be contaminated indoors. This puts our hero Brad (Rory Cochrane) in the awkward position of having to tell his wife Lexi (Mary McCormack) who he loves more than anything in the world that she must remain outside in the chaos.
The film moves quickly and while you might wonder how such a premise can be stretched to 90 minutes, it succeeds very well. It captures the frustration, panic and desperation perfectly and shows the wide range of emotions the characters go through.
The longer the characters are isolated from each other, the more paranoid the film becomes. They can't trust the police, they can't trust the media. They have no idea whether or not they are being told the truth and don't know where to go for help. All they have been told is to stay where they are until help comes.
This paranoia is heightened by the fact that the film shows events only from Brad's point of view. The audience knows as little as he does and can only guess alongside him about what is to become of them.
The major failing of this film is in its ending. Throughout the film, I had a nagging feeling that they wouldn't know how to end it and create some big twist to remedy this. I was correct. While the twist was logical and not altogether awful, I just felt that a simpler ending would have been more poignant. For a film that invests so much of itself in the emotions of the characters, it suffers from detracting from intimacy at the end.
Unfortunately, a weak ending is something a film can't quite recover from. Having said that, however, it is still certainly worth a look for the great lead performances and the hugely captivating story.
- Charlene Lydon 13/9/06