A single mom tries to break free from a mysterious organization that has abducted her.
April 28, 2017
Can’t we just be better people? Take better care of the Earth? Leave a better world for our children and grandchildren? How difficult is it for us to make such changes to ensure a brighter future? And what will happen to us and this world when we face our deepest fears?
The new film from Steven Shainberg (of 2002’s indie hit Secretary) is Rupture. And it answers these questions and more. But it might not be the answer we (or the main character in the picture) want to hear.
Renee (Prometheus’ Noomi Rapace) is a single mom (with a debilitating case of arachnophobia) living with her preteen son Evan (Percy Hynes White). Renee leaves Evan with his father for the weekend in order to join a friend for a little sky-diving fun. But Renee is being watched, and will be sidetracked and kidnapped on her way to her adventure. She is taken to a remote warehouse building which is set up as some kind of laboratory – headed by several strange scientists – namely Terrence (Peter Stormare) and a mysterious Bald Man (Michael Chiklis). As Renee struggles to escape, she learns more and more about who these people are and what they intend to do with her.
I clocked it. It took 65 minutes of the 100 minute running time, to see the bare beginning of questions being answered. Now, I’m all for mystery and building up to the reveal of what’s been going on in a film. But an audience needs to be fed a few tasty tidbits in order to continue to follow along. That much time without some juicy morsels, tends to turn a screening experience into a bummer.
However, there’s a good amount of tension throughout the film, but based on my comments above, you can surmise that it started to wear thin after a bit (those missing “morsels”).
I loved the sets they used for the laboratory/warehouse. Its repetitive hallways and stifling dustiness perfectly sets the mood for the film. I was intrigued by the use of random pot lights covered in sheets on the floor. Of course the use of such makeshift dimmers is explained later, but it also adds some practical creepiness to the film’s overall look.
Rapace does a nice job establishing her relationship with her on-screen son in the film’s opening moments – certainly enough for us to say, “Yeah, I like her and I fear for her – I’ll follow along”. And when things turn violent and confusing (nice and quick I might add) you’ll be impressed with the level of emotion and terror Rapace brings to Renee. She doesn’t say much once the s*** hits the fan, but her grunting, sobbing and pleading are top-notch. I don’t think the script gives her enough history to build the strongest bond between the character and a potential audience, but Rapace is strong enough to overcome those shortcomings. Renee’s interaction with her deepest, darkest fear (see below) results in Rapace’s best scenes in the film.
Supporting actors are all veterans, so they do good work, but the characters are all semi-robotic (no, that’s not a spoiler) with very little history to back them up. They’re the usual oddball and dangerous villains – if frankly a tad bland. Lesley Manville as Doctor Nyman is the standout in this weird little ensemble. Perhaps because her character is the only one to offer any slight comforts to Renee, thus showing tiny rays of humanity. Her soothing British accent doesn’t hurt either.
And here we are – the spindly and web-covered meat of the film’s power. It doesn’t overdo it, but if you have an issue with our eight-legged friends, you’ll find yourself squirming at a few select sequences. This doesn’t spoil anything (and you’ll see some of this in the trailer) but the scientists are doing some sort of immersion therapy on their subjects – based on their deepest fears. And since Renee has a “slight” (just a little one) issue with arachnids… well, you can sort of guess where that phobia will lead.
I enjoyed the make-up effects (eerie contact lenses and one of Renee’s fellow subjects – once he’s “burned out”) and they’re all nicely done. As for the visuals…
Most of the visual effects are spot-on (the spider CGI is creepy-crawly delicious!) but there are several moments where the faces of a few characters contort, and it’s done with effects. Not ideal. And if I’m comparing it to the now “ancient” work of the effects team on the 1992 Stephen King film Sleepwalkers – well, it’s not much of a compliment. It always grates on me how a film can achieve such heights in visual effects on some things, and fall so flat in others.
The filmmakers do lead you down a path (through visuals and eventual conversations between Renee and her captors) which will suggest several options as to what’s happening. But once the big secret is revealed, you’ll be pleased that it’s not at all what you thought. It’s an original idea for sure and certainly worthy of some kudos. Such an idea feels very much unexplored in the genre. One film with some similar themes sort of comes to mind – but revealing that title would give too much away for the film at hand.
Let’s have a little fun! Once you see the film, leave some comments below on which other film you think I might be referencing.
Visually excellent (except for a few pesky and ineffective CGI effects) with a good lead performance from Rapace – Rupture takes a bit too long to get to the interesting “big idea” during the film’s climax. And the supporting characters really don’t inspire much delight.
Rupture is now available on VOD and also opened in select theatres today. Certainly not perfect, but definitely above average – it’s worth a look.