Containment full movie review - A simple but tense SF. However, it managed to captivate me.
"Are you an artist? No.Yes. It's debatable."
In "Tower Block" a group of residents were gradually slaughtered by a sniper and although they didn't really knew each other, they started relying on each other to save themselves from that situation. In "The Divide" it was about survivors of a nuclear attack locked in a cellar ending up in a chaotic struggle for survival. In the low-budget film "Containment", residents of several apartment buildings suddenly realize that their apartment is sealed off, there's no electricity or water and phones are dead. Meanwhile, a sort of field hospital is being set up between the buildings and several figures in orange safety suits escort people to it. Initially, there's the notification that a gas leak is the cause of all this trouble. But as a group of residents witness plain executions of fleeing victims, they realize that there's something more going on.
A group consisting of Mark (Lee Ross), a not so successful artist with a failed marriage, the young couple Sally (Louise Brealey) and Aiden (William Postlethwaite), the aggressive Sergei (Andrew Leung) and his younger brother Nicu (Gabriel Senior) and a somewhat senile older woman called Enid (Sheila Reid), attempt to find a way out. After some thin cardboard-like walls were being demolished (especially by the energetic Sergei), these colorful individuals were able to form a group. A group of individuals who have no idea what's actually going on and who are also total strangers to one another. Soon they start to panic, despite there are messages broad-casted on the intercom that they all should remain calm. The images of hysterical neighbors who try to bash in their window and the aggressive removal of an entire family, clearly don't help with that. As a viewer you start asking yourself what the hell is going on. Is it something military? Or just another epidemic with a deadly virus in the leading role?
And to be honest, this was the most successful part of this indie film. The way the viewer is kept in the dark and information about the entire situation is offered in dribs and drabs. Granted, the whole thing isn't very original and sometimes really looks cheap. No breathtaking action scenes or hallucinatory special effects. The acting wasn't very impressive either. Only Leung was able to convince me, and acted at times really grandiose. And especially Sheila Reid stood out with her demure and brilliant acting. And occasionally the humor was rather enjoyable.
Despite the simple storyline and the typical features that come with this kind of film, Lemon succeeded to distance himself from the most obvious outcome. It's not just another film about a virus outbreak that turns innocent people into bloodthirsty zombies. The oppressive atmosphere maintained in this short film (also a plus). However, again those typical characters appeared as usual. The most positive side about this movie was the bigger picture behind this seemingly simplistic story. A story without a clear answer and open to conjecture. Not exactly a feature I'm a fan of, but here it didn't bother me that much. What did bother me were some practical issues. First of all, I admire the team that managed to seal all those windows and doors in the buildings in such a short time. That must have been a hell of a job. And furthermore I was dumbfounded that no one came up with the idea to throw something heavy through the windows. It don't think this organization succeeded in replacing all that glass by shock resistant material.
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