Lee Ross, Louise Brealey, William Postlethwaite, Sheila Reid, Andrew Leung DIRECTED BY
Neil McEnery-West SCREENPLAY
Neil McEnery-West, David Lemon MPAA RATING
NR RUNNING TIME 77 Mins.
"British Thriller "Containment" Arrives in U.S. on VOD/DVD
Winner of multiple film festival awards, co-writer/director Neil Mcenery-West's Containment is a predictable yet involving thriller taking a relatively familiar theme and bringing it vividly to life. Picked up by Vision Films for worldwide VOD/DVD distribution, Containment centers around the residents of a tower block who wake up one morning and find themselves locked out from the outside world without warning and without explanation. Relative calm gives way to panic when a team in hazmat suits sets up shop outside their buildings and begins to take residents into their makeshift tent area.
If this all sounds incredibly familiar, it is. However, award-winning short film director Mcenery-West makes excellent use of location and the film's slight yet nicely paced 77-minute running time to create a thriller that actually thrills for a good majority of its running time. The film centers around six characters - Mark (Lee Ross, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Enid (Sheila Reid), Sally (Louise Brealey), Aiden (William Postlethwaite), Nicu (Gabriel Senior), and Sergei (Andrew Leung).
Containment carries with it a strong social conscious, though Mcenery-West keeps it relatively under the radar and focuses on the story. The quality of the ensemble cast may be most strongly indicated by the fact that Ross, Reid, and Brealey all picked up acting prizes along the film's festival journey as did Graham Hadfield for the film's top notch soundtrack, Mcenery-West for direction, Arttu Salmi for editing, and Nikola Medic for the film's eerie and tense sound design. Among the ensemble, I found myself most captivated by Sheila Reid whose performance is simultaneously vulnerable, self-assured and immensely satisfying.
While the film's story is relatively familiar, Mcenery West and co-writer David Lemon do a nice job of adding in a few unexpected turns. Arthur Mulhern's lensing is stark and off-putting, while Mcenery-West's ability to capture a tremendously claustrophobic feel and to perfectly utilize the setting greatly enhanced the story.