THE CARRIER

5 out of 10

Release Date: 25th January 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Anthony Woodley (Outpost 11)

Cast: Edmund Kingsley, Jack Gordon, Zora Bishop, Billy Clarke, Joe Dixon, Karen Bryson, Andrew French, Rebecca Johnson, James Littlewood, Rachel Finnegan with Luke Healy and Josie Taylor

Writer: Luke Healy, Anthony Woodley, Helen Kingston & Stefan Mitchell

Trailer: THE CARRIER

Review by Matt Usher aka Joe Pesci II below.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

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One thought on “THE CARRIER

  1. Review by Matt ‘The Scurrier’ Usher

    In STAR TREK 2 THE WRATH OF KHAN (spoiler alert!), Spock explains his decision to sacrifice himself to save the crew of the Enterprise with the logical equation that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. Lefty claptrap, noble self-sacrifice, logical deduction, whatever you want to call it, it’s generally something most of us would agree with, whilst watching films at least. Whether it be ARMAGEDDON or AIRBORNE, we do like a noble death. In THE CARRIER we follow an aeroplane and its desperate crew and passengers as they attempt to escape from a plague-infested Britain. But their attempt is in vain as the plague is already amongst them. Only one person realises what they must do, that for the good of the world (or at least for anyone who may have avoided the plague by living in Greenland) they must abandon their plan. Except, in a bizarre twist of the cinematic moral compass, he’s the villain. No-one else in the cast has seen STAR TREK 2, so they’re happy to plough on regardless, on the logic of ‘we’re OK and we’re nice so it’ll be fine, so what if the plague’s possibly airborne and almost instantaneously lethal’.

    But maybe I’m getting carried away. After all what is THE CARRIER? It’s a low-budget not bad effort with massive plot holes that swallow the film whole.

    Britain is plagued by a terrible plague. It’s not a metaphor for migrants, racists, tax-dodging politicians, drugs or idiots, it’s just a plague-y thing: nasty, swift-acting, incurable, deadly, and highly contagious. But it’s not just in Britain, it’s most of the world! But the British are thick so that doesn’t stop people wanting to escape, even if that means taking the plague with them. The government has appealed for people to not leave the country (makes a change). But hang on, they’re asking people not to leave? It’s a government! They can shut the harbours, airports and channel tunnel can’t they? Apparently not: we see cars queuing to enter an airport as the army search for hidden plague victims. Surely, the army should be turning everyone away?

    On to the plane we find 5 crewmembers and 6 passengers (or vice versa). It hardly seems worth it. More credibility problems abound: everyone is on first name terms, even though they’ve only just boarded. In fact, everyone seems to be long-term acquaintances. And then one of the prospective passengers is revealed to be a plague-carrier! This revelation takes place as a security guard forces all the passengers to strip so he can examine them. Where’s the medical staff? Presumably in the airport which should have been shut. But this security guard (played successfully by Joe Dixon without ever succumbing to easy mad-staring-eyed-evangelical acting) is a pervert / stickler for discipline / religious nut / health and safety obsessive. Which is just as well seeing as the plane has yet to take off and the plague is already aboard. So he batters the poor woman to death (rather than, say, asking her to leave). So obviously with this plague being super-contagious that should be the end of the trip. But that would shorten the film by about 85 minutes and anyway they’re all ready to go so no-one (except the dodgy security guard) even thinks ‘hang on a minute, we’re probably all infected’, and it’s only Greenland after all, and none of them feel peaky so it’ll all be fine.

    The passengers are a remarkably normal lot, like a cast-list from an ever-so-slightly posher version of EASTENDERS. Which is another plot hole because if Britain was being evacuated the planes would be full of rich people who had bribed the airlines in their ironic need to become illegal migrants. The plane should be stuffed to overflowing with peers of the realm and the sort of big businessmen who aren’t quite rich enough to own private jets.

    Nothing rings true. I don’t necessarily want a grittily authentic portrait of a plague crisis, but THE CARRIER has no logic or credibility. The only character who questions what they’re doing is portrayed as a maniac, there’s no scene where they discuss the morality of their intention, the film doesn’t even show them just brushing the issue under the carpet, it assumes we’re on their side because they’re goodies. Did the film-makers even do any thinking about the plot? I’m not saying the film should have been centred on the debate or that everyone should have made the noble decision, but it would have been nice if someone had a brief survival vs guilt quandary, or if the argument could have involved someone who wasn’t a sadistic loon, or even if the conversation went like this: ‘Is it right that we risk the rest of the world so we can save ourselves even though we may already be doomed?’ ‘Yes’ ‘OK, just thought I’d ask’. Maybe this conversation could have occurred between our nervy near-hero Jack Gordon and the captain with an agenda, Edmund Kingsley? Instead they and the rest of the cast spend their time bickering over directions and how best to deal with loopy self-righteous guardians of the world’s safety. Rather weirdly, the film stirs into life in a scene where Kingsley chats up the pilot (Josie Taylor) of another fugitive plane – it’s ludicrous but more than saved by the actors (I also like the way Kingsley later brandishes a gun like he really has no idea how to hold a gun properly).

    It’s a shame because THE CARRIER is at least competent in terms of the nuts and bolts of the film-making (it has a couple of good jump-moments, it’s well-paced and sometimes even tense), but there’s too much wrong on the conceptual level. They could have made so much more of the religious zealot angle (rather than a lazy character trait), or the idea of good people being panicked into doing bad things. Instead it’s just a dot-to-dot one-thing-after-another would-be thriller.

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