Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Fantasia '16 Film Review - Tank 432

Reeves (Rupert Evans) and Karlsson (Deirdre Mullins) are British mercenaries in the aftermath of a fire fight gone wrong at the outset of Tank 432. One of their unit Capper (Michael Smiley) has a severely injured leg while their commanding officer Smith (Gordon Kenney) tries to figure out the next step to get them out of trouble. They head to an abandoned industrial area where they locate a Jeep and a young girl living in a storage container. Evans ( Tom Meetem) is the first to see the shadowy approach of their adversary. Gantz (Steve Garry) makes a grizzly discover of the members of another Unit on site.

The crew moves out taking two hooded prisoners refereed by Smith as cargo and the girl with them. Capper is left behind along with Evans who has grown more unstable. The others cross a vast field when they sense the appearance of the enemy again. Looking for a temporary location for cover the troop spot a Bulldog tank and hastily pile in.  In the chaos the rear hatch door jams leaving no way out. The mercenaries are trapped as the mysterious enemy approach.

Nick Gillespie a regular collaborator of Ben Wheatley directs the action. Wheatley serves as a Executive Producer on the film. The story is vague on the Unit's mission, the acts perpetrated by the two orange jumpsuit clad prisoners or intelligent info on why the masked robed enemy that appear then disappear from view are such a threat. Instead the narrative focuses in on the growing paranoia of each team member as it hits each of them in different stages along with the strange effect the colour orange appears to have on everyone. The only constant is the ever present shots and pills doled out to the group by Karlsson. First she gives Tapper shots to ease his pain, next to Evans for his increasing anxiety then pills to everyone in the tank to help them get some shut eye.

Rupert Evan's Reeves is given the most to do in the piece. He leads the reconnaissance missions to each new location. He keeps a level head despite seemly to alway be thirsty for water and having a bit of a week stomach. Deirdre Mullins is strong in a supporting role of Karlsson acting as the default medic but begins to sense that there is something not right with the mission. Michael Smiley the go to British character actor provides another offbeat acid tongue performance as Capper who is left behind after act one but provides some surprises later in the production.

Tank 432 is filled with genuine sequences of true paranoia, fear and angst amongst the crew. The narrative falls down by not presenting at least one direct incident to give the audience a clear idea of the threat level. Instead the tragic fate of another Unit provides an indirect example. The story also fails to indicate why the mercenaries are in their location or the crimes committed by the prisoners. The film does build some momentum in the opening act but stalls in the second and is unable to recover in the third.

** Out of Four

Tank 432 | Nick Gillespie | U.K. | 2015 | 88 Minutes.

Tags; Mercenaries, Soldiers, Prisoners, Medical Injections, Bulldog Tank, Hallucinations, claustrophobic, Mission.

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