Filmed completely in Northern Ireland, I simply had to check out ‘The Survivalist’. This post-apocalyptic thriller is also the feature film debut of Stephen Fingleton. BAFTA recognised this film and even nominated it for an award, even though it didn’t win this did nothing to put me off seeing, if anything the nomination increased my interest. You can read my review of the 68th BAFTA Ceremony & Winners if you missed out!
The opening to the film is great, it’s very bleak and sets the tone well for the rest of the film. It plays out in such a way that allows the audience to clear their heads of anything that they came to the cinema thinking about, it prepares the viewers to get lost into this post-apocalyptic world that our characters inhabit. From the get go and until the end of the film there is a strong sense of tension in the air. The setting of the forest was really helpful for this tension, it was great that this was a constant throughout the film and you could never fully become at ease. The film is certainly an uncomfortable watch in places but I felt it represented this kind of world very well, the realism maybe sacrifices some of the entertainment value as a film but the creation of this realistic world has to be praised.
The story that plays out in this world we are transported to is fairly predictable in sections but this didn’t matter all that much as the way in which it is told is good. There are some surprises amongst everything too though. The story is always captivating thanks to the performances. All of the three central characters are played very well, each actor and actress having different personalities to portray. Martin McCann, Mia Goth & Olwen Fouere are so exposed due to the nature of the film, there’s nothing for these actors to hide behind. All of them are easily believable in their roles and work very well together on screen. Always complementing the acting is the film-making and it’s clear to see that special care has been taken in producing this film. The camera work is very good here with a strong combination of in focus and out of focus shots, there’s also one fantastic shot which allows the audience full perspective of the scene, this was probably my favorite thing about the film.
At a running time of under two hours there is no risk of your attention flagging here, the tension, performances and camera work make sure of that. I was completely transfixed for the entirety of the run time, whether or not I’d watch it again I’m not too sure but the first time experience itself was an involved one. Don’t be expecting the fast paced post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max here but instead a bleak and realistic look at what a world like this could really look like. It’s hard to believe that this a debut for Fingleton, he’s got the best out of his cast and crew and is surely set for great things in the future.
Rating – 7/10
Question: What is your favourite post-apocalyptic movie?
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