Welcome to Jamie Bell Week: Day 3. Out of all of the movies of his I haven’t seen, perhaps Retreat interested me the most. The concept, which I’ll talk about in a second, is really thought-provoking on its own, and depending on the way you pull it off, it can be something really special. If it’s done wrong, it can end up being really corny and disappointing. So, this is definitely a movie that held quite a bit of potential just from the plot synopsis alone. So what is it? What is this phenomenal concept I keep going on about? Well, continue reading, friends.
So, imagine you have a bit of a problem with your marriage, so to re-ignite that love, you and your wife head to a nearly deserted island to get away from the stress and enjoy each other’s company. That’s what Martin and Kate plan on doing, but once they are there, they notice a strange man collapse outside. Bringing him indoors, he says that he is military and warns them of a global pandemic happening all across the world. A fatal airborne virus that’s killing everyone instantly once they catch it, and it’s headed straight for them. He tells them in order to survive, they must seal the house and board it up if anyone comes to their cottage looking for survival supplies. Acting on instinct they all begin to seal and board the house up, but they soon begin to wonder if what he’s saying is true or if he’s just a psychopath locking them inside with him.
There’s a lot of things going through your head while watching this movie, and there is a very good reason for that. The director clearly wanted the audience to not only question and challenge everything that’s actually happening in the movie, they also wanted it to be unpredictable, even with all the guessing involved. So in the end, whatever the case may be, and I won’t spoil you, but I will say the writing was very smart. It’s definitely a psychological thriller, which I’m always a pretty big fan of, and this was a pretty decent one in general. It has its problems, sure, but there’s also a lot to respect as well.
So, guys, let’s break the movie down and get down to the nitty-gritty. What was good? What was bad? What was okay? Let’s find out.
PEOPLE SCORE – 6/10
Acting – 2|Characters – 1|Casting – 1|Importance – 1|Chemistry – 1
It’s a mix-mash for the people category. The main thing it definitely got right was the acting ability since everyone let on a range of emotions that were pretty impressive in general. Everything else was mostly mediocre, though. These weren’t very memorable characters. Usually Cillian Murphy has a great memorable character…not here. I think anyone could have ultimately played every single part in the movie. I think the only person that really adds to the plot is Jamie Bell’s character while the other characters mostly just listen along. Finally, it’s not a movie that even focuses on chemistry, so there’s really not any of it to be found.
WRITING SCORE – 8/10
Dialogue – 1|Balanced – 2|Story – 1|Originality – 2|Interesting – 2
It’s a little bit of a better score for the writing, though. The main issues I found from it came down to the dialogue and story elements. The dialogue wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t really all that memorable, either. Plus, Cillian Murphy’s character had a British accent, which is weird to hear from him. The story, likewise, isn’t really about anything. It’s not trying to tell you anything…it just is what it is. However, I do consider it an extremely balanced movie that is very original and very interesting.
BTS SCORE – 7/10
Visuals – 1|Directing – 2|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 2|Music – 1
Next up is behind-the-scenes which mostly just did alright. I think the directing stood out the most – as this was a story that you couldn’t let things slip or else it would be predictable. However, the director told a very unpredictable story, and that takes effort. Everything else was mediocre though. The visuals were just fine, the editing was just fine, the music wasn’t memorable. All I can really say is it had great directing and it was as-advertised. Take that as you will.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 9/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 1
Next up is the narrative arc category, which nearly got a perfect score, other than the falling action. There was a falling action of sorts, it was just…weird. You’ll see what I’m talking about if you watch the movie. Everything else was on spot. The introduction that had us meeting Martin and Kate and why they are on the island. The inciting incident has us meeting our mysterious stranger that says the world is ending. The obstacles really come down to internal battles whether or not to believe the stranger. The climax is where everything comes to an explosive finale, and everything was done very well here.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 6/10
Rewatchability – 1|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 1|Sucks Audience IN – 2
Next up, how entertaining was it? Well, I think it was pretty decent in general, but nothing that really blew my mind. I consider it rewatchable, but maybe years down the line. I don’t really want to buy it, but it is fun enough that it sucks the audience in pretty well throughout the film, and as such, there are things I wouldn’t mind discussing with other people about the movie. It just won’t drive me mad if I don’t. So…take that as you will.
TOTAL SPECIAL – 45/50
Jamie Bell – 10|Cillian Murphy – 5|Thriller – 10|Virus – 10|Halfway Decent – 10
As for the specialty questions that I wrote before seeing the movie, the first is…well, it’s Jamie Bell, how is his portrayal in this. Personally, I’d consider this one of his best movies, if not best. It shows a lot of range from him, for sure. How about Cillian Murphy, I usually love him in everything that he does. Well, he was such a useless character in this, I can’t help but only give him half points. What about the thriller aspect, how does that fare? Personally, I thought it was definitely thrilling enough to be warranted with a perfect score there. Also, this is a virus/pandemic film, so how is that dealt with in this film. Well, it’s certainly different, that’s for sure, but a unique and original different, full points there. Finally, was it halfway decent? Absolutely!
Rating – 81/100