Sunday, 3 January 2010

Film Review: SURVEILLANCE (2008)

Director: Jennifer Chambers Lynch
Running time: 97 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 18

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 3rd January 2010.


This is a very violent and, at times, quite disturbing film, having said that, it’s also a very interesting film. Made in a very muted style and set in the Santa Fe desert, it tells how two FBI agents go about questioning the survivors of a brutal attack by a couple of serial killers.

The FBI agents in question, Elizabeth Anderson and Sam Hallaway arrive at a police station where the survivors are being held. They are, Bobbi Prescott, a young woman who is also a drug addict, Stephanie, a nine year old girl whose family were victims of the killers and Officer Jack Bennett, a police officer who lost his partner in the attack. The three are split up and interviewed separately, with proceedings being monitored by Agent Hallaway in another room. Interviewing Bennett is his boss, Captain Billings; Anderson is interviewing Stephanie and Officers Degrasso and Wright interview Bobbi. Starting from the beginning they go through the events of the day, occasionally changing events to cover-up some wrongdoing. As events unfold it becomes clear that the killers are not too far away and somebody knows who they are. I think that’s enough to wet you appetite…

As I said at the beginning, this is a very interesting film, although I do wonder where the writer has met such dumb cops. I mean shooting the tyres out of passing cars so they can harass and intimidate the drivers! If that actually goes on in the Santa Fe area then I for one won’t be visiting any time ever! Ignoring the stupid cops, it’s a pretty good film although there are some very disturbing scenes. Good performances from all of the main cast, Julia Ormond as Elizabeth Anderson, Bill Pullman as Sam Hallaway, Ryan Simpkins as Stephanie, Pell James as Bobbi Prescott, Kent Harper as Officer Jack Bennett and Michael Ironside as Captain Billings.

Over all, a pretty violent film in the tradition of films about serial killers. There is a pretty good twist at the end which, I wasn’t entirely surprised by but still fitted in with what had preceded. I liked the muted style and the way it was produced. I’ll be interested to see further work from this director, who is the daughter of director David Lynch by the way.

My score: 6.4/10

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