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Retreat

by

Jeff Nelson

Retreat is a flick that could have been so much better, but ultimately is a disappointing thriller.

Retreat
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I have been waiting for what seems like quite a long time for the film Retreat to receive a release date in the United States. It's a British thriller that received a lot of positive buzz for a while. Some of the top horror websites were absolutely praising this movie. Some called it an 'intensely unique experience.' Moviegoers should be careful about how high his or her expectations are set, it might end up being the death of the movie fairly quickly. Unfortunately, I allowed the hype to build up in my mind way too much and it created unrealistic expectations. Retreat didn't only attract me for the plot, but also for the cast. While this isn't a horrible movie, I disagree with what many reviewers claimed about this British thriller.

While visiting a remote island, a couple encounters a man. He apparently washed up there and claims a lethal virus has spread through Europe. The couple must decide whether to trust the stranger and figure out how to survive. It's an interesting premise that allows the filmmakers to take this in numerous different directions. From the start, I had a feeling that this would be character study. There are only three characters constantly on screen and are on an island with no other people on it. When it comes to the most crucial elements of a character study, they are the screenplay and the acting. If the two aren't able to mesh correctly and evenly, then the movie could become an utter mess. Retreat is a lot more slow paced than I imagined it to be. The beginning is interesting as we begin to learn about the past and present of the couple. After the stranger appears, the movie starts going downhill. A lot of the conversations and actions become extremely repetitive. To be completely honest, I had a bit of difficulty getting through the entire movie. i fell asleep a few times and had to rewind. It moves at the pace of a snail. All of the development that was once occurring in these characters comes to a halt. Instead, we have two people on screen that are extraordinarily irritating and do very dumb things that no human being with common sense would do. Once one of the big twists is revealed, the final ending is predictable. However, the finale is perhaps one of the better portions of the movie. A lot more could have been done with this screenplay. There's an intriguing plot underneath all of the rubble. However, the filmmakers appear to have difficulty really pushing this movie to its limit. It feels as if they were lazy while writing Retreat. The story could be something original and unique, but actually appears to be something that we've seen many times before in a variety of different flicks.

Once the cast list was released, two of the actors got me excited. Jamie Bell and Cillian Murphy starring together? Count me in. I'm a fan of both of these actors. Unfortunately, they both made a little bit of a misfire starring in this. Bell and Murphy can be in movies much better than this, as they have previously. Jamie Bell possesses the strongest performance of the entire movie. He delivers his character very well. He's convincing, even though he wasn't given a very good script. He still manages to pull his role together and delivers something truly worth watching. Cillian Murphy's character is very annoying. Murphy is a fantastic actor, but he clearly didn't put a lot of work into Retreat. He doesn't have that charm that I'm used to seeing him display on screen. Thandie Newton performs as Murphy's wife. Her character is also irritating to almost no end. Her performance is also a little bit underwhelming. Jamie Bell is a strong actor, which is shown yet again in Retreat.

Early on in the running time, the stranger contains the couple in the house. There's an entire island that could be explored throughout this movie to make it a bit more visually appealing. However, the entire motion picture takes place within the house. While this is fine, as it creates a claustrophobic atmosphere, more could have been done with the visuals. As expected, Retreat sports a very gloomy tone from start to finish. The audio is successful. All of the dialogue comes through the center channel without any pops and is very easy to hear. The most impressive portion of this track is towards the final act of the movie. The surround channels kick in with a large amount of atmospheric effects. The visuals aren't going to make anybody's jaw drop, but they're fine for the given material.

After all of the excitement about Retreat making its way to the United States, I was ultimately quite a bit disappointed with the results. It isn't nearly as good as many people were stating. This isn't very gripping or unique. In fact, it gets dull at times. It frustrates me when such a good concept is destroyed by poor execution. It makes me wonder what this movie could have turned out to be with a better written screenplay. The best thing about this entire picture is the performance given by Jamie Bell as the stranger. He's convincing and truly steals the show with this character. This review may sound like I'm absolutely trashing this movie, but I don't hate it. It's not a well-made movie, but isn't a disaster by any means. It's simply there and doesn't stand out from the crowd of other a little bit less than mediocre thrillers. Retreat is a flick that could have been so much better, but ultimately is a disappointing thriller.

My Rating = Two Stars

Next movie: The Thing (2011)
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