September 16, 2015 by Liza Lou
I don’t know how to start this review without sounding like I’m bashing British thriller films but risking sounding unpatriotic, I do struggle with them if I am honest. The last film that even remotely fitted into the genre that I enjoyed was back in 2011 with The Innkeepers but I’m always on the look out for something to change my mind and that is why Containment entered the ring. The writer David Lemon and director Neil Mcenery-West were both completely new to me so I went in with no expectations. Having seen the trailer, all I really knew was that it was a British thriller with a sci-fi vibe.
The story starts with Mark, Lee Ross (Dawn of the planet of the Apes), waking up in his apartment and finding himself sealed off from the rest of the world. His windows don’t open, his door has been glued shut and he has no power inside his home. After the expected confusion he realises that everyone else in the block are experiencing the same thing and wonders why and of course, how to get out.
This initial build up is promising. The direction is slow and lofty with brooding shots that I actually enjoy.The whole situation is played as bewildered rather than frantic and really helps with understanding Mark as a character. Ross does him well and he becomes one of the few people to care about as the film progresses, this is definite testament to the opening scenes.
As other characters are introduced and the plot tries to thicken the film becomes messy. It’s worth pointing out that although Andrew Leung (Lilting) is believable as passionate Sergei, the good cop/bad cop routine between him and Mark comes across as boring and predictable. Another performance worthy of mention is Sheila Reid as Mark’s next door neighbour Enid. I only know Reid from playing mad cap Madge in UK series Benidorm and in this more serious role she was heart warming while still adding a comedic touch.
It’s fair to say then that on a whole the acting wasn’t terrible but somewhere this film truly lacked. For almost 45 mins it tries suspense but never really gets there, instead the scenes become drawn out and tedious. By the time any real action starts it’s easy to have lost interest and although there is a couple of touching scenes within the third act, they get lost.
The third act and conclusion is a strange one because the film doesn’t seem to have a secure point to end on. What happens is a return to the lull viewed before the ten minutes of drama and action. It’s a lull that just drips by until the credits roll and we realise it’s all over. Containment was saved slightly for me by good British actors but I didn’t really care enough about where the plot was taking them and breathed a sigh of relief when I could up and leave. It’s a shame.