Neil Maskell’s directorial debut does feel very reminiscent of a Ben Wheatley project, and it is understandable with Neil having worked with Ben a number of times previously that influence must have rubbed off somewhere. With lots of close camera-work and tracking shots and tied in with a limited amount of remote locations, it manages to feel like a very personal but also a very claustrophobic film at times. In mixing up the close camera with some excellent aerial and wide panoramic shots, Maskell’s choices alongside cinematographer Nick Gillespie work really well to also establish the remoteness, and emphasise the intimacy of the performances.
Governmental whistleblower Ewan (Amit Shah) and his outspoken wife Silke (Sura Dohnke) are forced to retreat to a remote Belgian farmhouse to hide until they can tell their story to a reporter, whilst also being under the care of newspaper-employed security to ensure they can tell their story. There is a real feeling of normal people being displaced and forced to behave in a way that is very alien to them, and this comes down to the performances of Shah and Dohnke here. Running parallel to the isolated couple are the security detail, Kevin (Tom Burke) and Glynn (Roger Evans). The exchanges between both the security guys and couple are great, with their distinct characteristics shining through and playing off each other in interesting ways but it is when the original couples interact that it really shines.
Maskell’s writing does great work in keeping the secret under wraps whilst also wielding it as a weapon of devastating power, building up the potential importance of this being reported on as the film progresses. The dialogue feels natural and flows well alongside the ambience and atmosphere that the setting and situation provide. It does feel like it is about to lose its impetus within the last 20 minutes but, with the introduction of a particularly potty-mouthed Flo (Jenna Coleman), things get shaken up and the story kicks on, mixes things up and builds very nicely to the finale.