Directed by Pedro C. Alonso.
Starring Eddie Marsan, Paul Anderson, Ivana Baquero and Richard Brake.
A radio star experiences the worst night of his life when stalkers assault the radio station where he’s working.
If you needed any further proof that Eddie Marsan is one of the most reliable performers of his generation no matter the genre – and a too-often unsung one at that – look no further than his versatile work in this unsettling and occasionally sinewy chamber piece.
Marsan plays Jarvis Dolan, the host of late night radio show The Grim Reality, where he typically discusses politics and other socially pressing issues (fittingly, with Marsan being an ardent Remainer). But on this night, two armed, masked studio invaders have an altogether different idea, taking Dolan and his broadcast hostage with their motives initially unclear.
Writer-director Pedro C. Alonso’s feature debut makes solid good on the low-fi promise of its concept for the most part, building uneasy suspense as the assailants’ intentions are slow-bled across 97 relatively taut minutes. Alonso has confidence enough in the material not to rush his way to the inevitable gore – which is scarcely but effectively deployed – and thanks largely to a fully committed Marsan, even some surprisingly delineated dialogues maintain decent interest.
Feedback is a tough movie to say much about without hinting at its eventual “turn”, but needless to say, Jarvis and his colleagues have some soul-searching to do, and the attackers have a relatively timely, compelling reason to be doing what they are (if what they claim is true, of course).
Alonso’s camerawork and shot selections are generally more functional than they are creative, but he nevertheless makes effective use of the limited set space, ensuring that Jarvis and co. can be boxed in tight with the perpetrators, as proves especially harrowing during the gnarly aforementioned exchanges.
Elsewhere there’s an unexpectedly meaty role for Paul Anderson as Dolan’s guest and pal Andrew, namely one grippingly cutting monologue that just might be the film’s entire highlight. Elsewhere, Pan’s Labyrinth‘s Ivana Baquero has a vital role that’s best said little about, proving herself a striking presence with a real future in the genre should she wish it.
Yet as fearful as one might be of giving Feedback‘s game away, it does have to be said that the overall narrative trajectory isn’t particularly surprising, and if you haven’t twigged what’s probably going on by the time act three starts, you’re more likely not paying enough attention. The film does at least end on a slightly expectation-defying note, albeit one that many may find too elliptical and even counter to the resolution they were hoping for. Whether it’s satisfying in its desire to deny catharsis is a whole other consideration.
Eddie Marsan’s typically strong performance ensures this single-location thriller maintains just enough suspense to cross the finish line in tact.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Shaun Munro – Follow me on Twitter for more film rambling.