Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Review - Citadel (2012 - Dir. Ciaran Foy)

This was the secret film at this year's festival and it's not too shabby. Tommy (Aneurin Barnard - a Scottish Elijah Wood) suffers a terrible tragedy when his wife is killed by a group of hoodie types outside his flat in Edenstown, leaving him with a baby to look after and a severe case of agoraphobia. Things get worse for him when the hoodies return.

Partly autobiographical - the director was threatened with a used needle and suffered from agoraphobia - the film deals with the issue of demonising our young people. By the look of things, the director comes down on the side of them being actual demons, which given his experience is probably an opinion he's entitled to. 

This is similar to Them but with a more fantastical edge. The best scenes are the ones that deal with Tommy's phobia. The acting is great and very believable. It is obvious the director has suffered with this too. He was advised to make a study of agoraphobia by the studio and I'm glad he stuck to his idea of adding horror elements as this had the potential to lift it above the average drama. It doesn't quite work though...

There is one really brutal shock involving his love interest, Marie, that is completely expected but is still really effective. The rest of the shocks are disappointing. Too much use is made of loud noises and I was completely immune to it after the first few. The end lost a lot of tension due to this. Some proper scares where the audience are manipulated would have improved matters greatly. There is also some ropey horror film behaviour where Tommy fails to lock a door despite being scared of pretty much everything.

On Tommy's travels he meets The Priest (James Cosmo), a cool character intent on blowing up the gang of demonic youths in their high rise flats. He helps young Tommy to overcome his fears through some crafty trickery. The hoodies themselves are also effectively feral and sport a nasty skin complaint that is par for the course for children brought up on a diet of Red Bull and Space Raiders.

Citadel actually got the audience vote for the best film of the festival. I wouldn't have put it as the best but it was one of the better offerings.

If you like this you could also try:
Them, North By Northwest (terrifying for agoraphobics).

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