Sep 072015
Containment Portrait
Title: Containment
Director: Neil Mcenery-West
Starring: Lee Ross,
Louise Brealey,
Andrew Leung,
Sheila Reid,
Genre: Thriller
Runtime: 1 Hour 17 mins
Music: Graham Hadfield
Studio: Vision Films
Certificate: UK: 15
Release Date: UK: Sep 11 2015
See If You Like: Carriers,

Not to be confused with the Claudia Black starring TV movie of the same name (also released this year, and following an outbreak of a deadly infection with a city), British thriller Containment is due to be released in cinemas on September 11th, and is surprisingly tense and worthwhile.

Occurring entirely within the confines of an inner-city tower block, Containment finds lowly artist Mark (Lee Ross, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) waking to find his apartment has lost power, his front door has been sealed shut, and a large number of people wearing haz-mat suits have set up residence on the common just outside his block.

Before Mark can figure out what’s going on, a group of people smash through his living room wall from the next flat over, spouting varying conspiracy theories and all looking for a way out. He then bands with the gaggle of misfits as they try to understand why they’ve been quarantined, try to avoid the haz-mat team, and not only escape the confines of their apartment block, but avoid potentially ill people, rioters, and even each other at times.

The group is just as mis-matched as you’d expect; comprising of a mute child, the lowly artist, an inner-city hard-case (Andrew Leung, Lilting), nurse (Louise Brealey, Sherlock), conspiracy nut (William Postlethwaite, Tea For Two), and an elderly woman named Enid (Sheila Reid, Benidorm); yet all bring something to the team, and despite being a touch two-dimensional and predictable (obviously the old woman is a bit of a bigot, the conspiracy nut is a coward, the nurse overly humane, and the child a bit of a wildcard) they all work well within the story.

In terms of plot, there’s not much to much to go on; something’s going on, and they want to get out; but there are moments of tension (particularly when the haz-mat team start clearing the buildings, the group starts arguing amongst itself, and violent gangs from the flats start patrolling the corridors), some solid performances (every actor delivers here, and while Sheila Reid is still used as the comedy factor, she really pulls of a stunningly emotional moment – proving she can really act), and a fairly engaging premise.

Not to say Containment is faultless, as its low budget nature shines through in every aspect of production (from settings, direction, cast, score, color filters, and the bottleneck nature of the film), there are countless plot-holes (the biggest of which – why hammer through the walls? why not just smash your way out of you front door?), and some questionable performances from some of the extras.

Yet it somehow rises above it faults, is a clear example of what can be achieved with a micro-budget movie, and does prove to be an engaging, if somewhat predictable and unoriginal, movie. Tense, engaging, and undeniably British, Containment will be released in cinemas on September 11th, and is perfect for anyone who loves a low budget thriller.

Matt Wheeldon@TheMattWheeldon.

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Containment Portrait