Monday 8 February 2016

The Carrier (UK: 2015 Dir Anthony Woodley)

Anthony Woodley's The Carrier has something in common with his last film Outpost 11 which after re-reading I find I treated pretty harshly. Both have science fiction themes but are more concerned with human drama than exploiting the fantastic side of things. So in Outpost 11 Woodley's cast are trapped bickering in a bunker in an alternative 1955, whereas in The Carrier his argumentative actors are cooped up in a 747 remaining airborne to escape the sudden spread of a quickly mutating virus on the ground.

The Carrier takes a while to find its tension and is rendered slightly confusing in that the viewer isn't given the benefit of understanding how the characters relate to each other until some time later. Some of the CGI is pretty unconvincing and I stopped counting the number of times where logic was cast to the winds, including the amputation of Billy (The Devil's Business) Clarke's arm, which understandably causes him intense pain at the point of severance but is seemingly forgotten several minutes later.

Eventually some tension is built up although as I mentioned it's achieved by all but jettisoning the sci-fi elements in favour of a 'who-do-you-trust' setup - in this I was reminded of the BBC series of Survivors (both 1975 and 2008 versions) which performed a similar trick. It was a mark of how limited the action was, that a sub plot involving the location of another plane (which isn't developed for plot reasons I can't reveal) was a bit of short term relief. Cast wise Billy Clarke is his usual unusual self (the Ken Campbell biopic awaits, Billy), but the rest of the cast, some of whom like Clarke are recycled from previous Woodley projects, remain pretty generic.

This isn't a terrible film but it does all feel slightly pointless. It's a step up from Outpost 11 but I still wouldn't say that Woodley is a director to watch.

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