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Old Street (2004)

A man named ken enters an almost empty underground car park at night. he enters into his van and drives up to the barrier inserting his ticket into the barrier lifting machine. Having no ... See full summary »

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A man named ken enters an almost empty underground car park at night. he enters into his van and drives up to the barrier inserting his ticket into the barrier lifting machine. Having no response kicks it making the lights go off. He pushes the help button and a strange voice starts tormenting him for the bad person he really is. Written by hello-660-290020

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January 2004 (UK)  »

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Good atmosphere and delivery that is only dropped by a disappointingly obvious ending
18 November 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Ken returns to his van late at night, having left it in a multi-storey car park. Before leaving he changes back into his work clothes and then heads off to go home. Putting his card in the machine doesn't raise the barrier for him and he appears to be stuck. Kicking the machine does nothing and his frustrations start to come out but when he does get hold of someone on the "assistance required" button, things get significantly worse.

I caught this by accident due to me messing up the video programming due to the clock change for the end of British summer time (did it even start this year?). The plot is simple and builds nicely across the short running time. The tension is injected nicely with the voice prodding and probing Ken being slightly creepy by demanding and joking at the same time. All through this I was engaged and wanted to see where it all goes. The arrival of the Night Manager within the story brings it all to a close and it becomes clear that what Ken has been fighting with was probably nothing more than his conscience. I had no issue with this plot twist because it is a fair conclusion but what I didn't like was the clunky and obvious way in which it was delivered.

The idea is solid enough but the final line and the inability of Ken to leave even when the physical barrier is up felt like I has having it explained to me by someone who was speaking loudly and slowly as if I was an idiot. I don't have any other suggestions about how to change it but for me it just seemed too obvious when the material itself had already done a good job of telling me what was going on with Ken without having to literally spell it out in big letters. Winstone leads the film well, going from polite annoyance to anger to guilt in a convincing way. The unseen Evans does well with his voice and works well off Winstone. Tennant is a surprise addition but really brings very little other than distraction (we're used to him showing up casually now due to Dr Who, so his presence is a bit strange here).

Overall then, a well put together film with a clever idea that is well delivered by director and actors to produce tension and atmosphere. Just a shame that the final moment is unnecessarily clunky and obvious.


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