THE CARRIER

PrintE-mail Written by J. R. Southall

Anthony Woodley’s second full feature (after 2012’s Outpost 11) is an odd affair, on the one hand servicing a decent raft of admittedly (and on this basis undeservedly) second string acting talent with some fine ideas, but on the other never quite getting to grips with its conceits enough to fully satisfy. It’s cleanly and concisely shot without any affectation or unnecessary flamboyance (bar the occasionally ropey CGI effect), but unfortunately, it’s fairly thinly characterised (in terms of both the people and the plot) and ultimately a little insubstantial.

The central concept is rather smart; as Woodley explains in the extras, rather than producing a film set on an aeroplane in which the predicament creates the need to land it, here instead the passengers and crew are determined to stay airborne, the threat being on the ground. That threat is an unstoppable, fatal global pandemic; we’re firmly in post-apocalyptic territory here. Ten survivors have taken off heading for Greenland, said to be a safe haven and possibly the home of a cure. However, they’ve taken the infection too and as we join them, tensions are fraying as the infected are being segregated and the pilot is looking to land and refuel the plane.

Woodley and his co-writers have commendably resisted sensationalism – but for one rather graphic early scene – avoiding as many of the clichés of the genre as possible and refusing to write over-familiar characters. The terse, sporadically intermittent dialogue is relatively realistic (there’s no breaking into conversations about Material Girl during moments of tension), and the handful of people who’ve made it to the start of the film generally conduct themselves in the manner we might actually rather than the way we’d hope. There’s little conventional heroism and few of the actions feel unnecessarily contrived.

Conversely, with the exception of Eric Mason (Joe Dixon) and his determination that they shouldn’t take any potential contagion into an uninfected zone, there’s little to really latch onto. The acting is entirely convincing and the motivations mostly plausible, but the understated feel throughout serves only to distance the viewer from the story, and the inevitable second half barely delivers on a threat that almost entirely fails to materialise. The resolution itself is perfectly satisfactory and consistent with the rest of the film, but much of it – like the reason given for the contagion’s rise in the first place – is interesting but ill thought through. It’s entirely likely that although enjoyable, The Carrier will have been forgotten by most viewers almost as soon as it’s finished. Woodley, however, given a decent budget and a co-writer with a more empathetic feel for an audience, shows enough potential to advance far beyond the limitations of this.

Extras: VFX Featurette, Making Of Feature, Deleted Scenes, Trailer

THE CARRIER / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: ANTHONY WOODLEY / SCREENPLAY: ANTHONY WOODLEY, LUKE HEALY, HELEN KINGSTON, STEFAN MITCHELL / STARRING: JACK GORDON, EDMUND KINGSLEY, ZORA BISHOP, JOE DIXON / RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 25TH


 


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