Retreat (2011)

Now THAT’s how its done! This psychological thriller from the UK is well executed with great, believeable performances from the three leads and a story, while simple, that kept me guessing all the way through. Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later) and Thandie Newton (Mission Impossible 2) are a couple attempting to ease the strains on their marriage with a week spent on a uninhabited island, off the English coast. Their personal problems take a back seat to the situation that arises when mysterious (and armed) stranger Jamie Bell (King Kong) stumbles in; bloodied and dazed. He then proceeds to take over, sealing them in amidst a desperate story of a deadly airborne disease that approaches. Scheming, paranoia and violence ensue. Some aspects of this film reminded me of Donald Sutherlands terrific 1981 spy film ‘ Eye of the Needle’  (which I also recommend) in the harsh but beautiful setting and the dangerous, ‘spiralling’ situation. The ‘cat n mouse’ mind games the movie plays are striking in their believability, as are the character arcs of all three leads as the situation grows more and more desperate. One surprising aspect that I found cool was the ‘ad hoc’ way that the house gets altered over the course of the film and in doing so, becomes a fourth character of sorts. And it comes with a spectacularly dark ending…which I highly approve of. If you’re looking for a good cinematic ‘mind-fuck’ whose base simplicity works nicely with the aptly fleshed out characters…check it out. Seriously.


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