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"Retreat" is a three-hander, starring Thandie Newton, Cillian Murphy
and Jamie Bell (although there is one other character with a brief
speaking part). Kate (Newton) and Martin (Murphy) have gone off to an
island retreat to regroup after Kate miscarries; they return to a
solitary cottage on a remote island where they had been happy years
earlier, thinking it might help their relationship. But Kate is
withdrawn and Martin doesn't know what to do, and the whole thing might
not have been a very good idea after all. One day, they stumble upon
Jack (Bell), an injured military man to whom they are quick to offer
shelter. Unfortunately, the generator in the cottage has shorted out,
and the CB radio seems not to be working, so when Jack tells them that
a fast-moving and lethal air-borne infection has been sweeping the
world and the only way to protect themselves from it is to barricade
themselves inside the cottage, they have no way of knowing whether he's
telling the truth or not. But Jack's decisive (and bullying) behaviour
convinces at least Martin that something is going on, and although Kate
initially resists and suggests that they just leave the cottage to the
"crazy" man, she too is more or less bullied into submission. And it is
true that something is going on, but whether they can figure it out in
time to save themselves is an open question....
This is writer/director Carl Tibbetts' debut film. I expected it to be a very tense psychological thriller, and to some extent it is, but there are flaws that perhaps a more experienced scriptwriter and director could have smoothed out. Largest among these is the simple fact that if Martin had listened to Kate right after Jack shows up, they wouldn't have gotten into this mess. It's hard to swallow disbelief when some plot points are so, well, silly. This is not to pan the film at all it's sharp, has some beautiful cinematography (it was filmed in Gwynedd, Wales), and a lot of the twists and turns (especially at the end) are unexpectedly rich. But really the best reason to see this film is for the acting; our three leads are just outstanding, with Thandie Newton's performance serving as the focus that holds the whole film together. Definitely recommended.
An above average virus movie, very enjoyable. I am not sure why some
people that appear to not enjoy horror or virus/plague movies insist on
watching them then complain when they do not like it. That would be
like me eating my least favorite food then complaining how the meal
sucked. It makes no sense, this movie was great for those that enjoy
this type of movie. The acting was good and it keeps you guessing to
the very end.
Worth your time to watch. Good acting, very nice location and good plot.
Give it a shot, it is worth it.
As the title says, I am genuinely shocked that Retreat has an IMDb
score of 5.7 (at the time of writing). Whilst not a terrible score, it
is below the average of scores I usually see on IMDb.
Retreat was, admittedly, rather slow to get going. However I did not see this as a negative element of the film as it served to provide the back-story of the protagonists, a much needed element to discover why they were on the island in the first place. The chemistry between Cillian Murphy and Thandie Newton was good, and as always they both acted their parts excellently (Jamie Bell, also, played his role brilliantly, although he will always be Billy Elliot to me!)
The film itself is brilliantly written. The dialogue is believable, and there is just the right amount of confusion and suspense building up to the twist ending.
Speaking of the ending, I genuinely did not see it coming at all, and for me it just made the film that little bit better.
In summary, it's a brilliantly acted film, it's a new twist on the whole "pandemic" concept that has come about during the last few years, and I think it definitely deserves a watch. Do not let the mediocre IMDb score put you off!
I don't understand the bad critics,it is a good movie. I watched it after I read the reviews here and was expecting something worse.I must say I was pleasantly surprised by Retreat. It is a psychological thriller,the acting is very good (Cillian Murphy is a remarkably good actor,but also Jamie Bell and Thandie Newton are a pleasure to watch)and the story kept me guessing until the end. Retreat slightly reminded me of 28 Days Later,but it is a totally different story and captivating in it's own way.I liked the pace and the atmosphere of the film,and I would recommend it to everyone interested in this genre. Retreat definitely deserves better critics and a better rating!
I'm not sure how much I can write with this film because writing much
would be risking large spoilers.
Essentially, a couple with personal problems are alone at their private island home and before long, the unreliable generator breaks down, leaving the house without much power. Now, however, another man appears bringing news about the occurrence of an unknown virus sweeping across the continent. The house is sealed off. But before long the couple suspect this man of being the real threat. However without power, how will they discover the truth?
That's basically where the suspense comes from - not knowing what the stranger might do, or how this couple might respond to their situation or try to escape.
In the final act, many pieces of information are revealed, turning the audience's perspective on its head.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Retreat could have been a good movie if the director had had his eyes
open. Since the general plot has been dissected numerous times by other
reviewers, I won't waste your time by repeating the story all over
However, either the director thinks his potential audience are all a bit "slow" (to say the least) or HE is a bit slow himself. Why do I say this?
Well, even though Martin and Kate are going through a small setback, surely that is no reason why, when they find an unconscious injured man on their island retreat, they shouldn't, at the very least, clean him up and dress his wounds. In such an environment there would be no doubt that their cottage would have been well-equipped with first-aid provisions yet all they appear to have done is drag the poor guy into the house and dump him on a sofa and then just sit and look at him! NO ONE would do that no matter how disturbed they were! The guy still has streaks of blood all down his face from open wounds to his head! Gee! I would sure hate to get shipwrecked on an island where they were the only occupants!
Then, when he does come around, the stranger tells them what could well have been a true story albeit somewhat bizarre. But then, when he says that the virus is airborne and their house must be sealed up, no one thinks to ask what they are all going to breathe once it is and then, when he convinces Martin and Kate to actually decimate the building and board up the doors and windows, there are enough gaps between the boards for a vampire bat to fly through - let alone a minute virus - never mind the chimney!
The premise of the story is plausible but its handling is pathetic! The fact that Martin and Kate actually bought Jack's story is an insult to the intelligence. I watched Retreat to the bitter end because I love Thandie Newton (and so the ending didn't please me one bit!) With a couple of exceptions, Cillian Murphy's character, Martin, was pretty lame. For example, he tells his gorgeous wife that he doesn't know what to do to ease her pain. How about giving her a great big loving hug for starters? There's poor Thandie (sorry, Kate) crying out to just be loved and all he can say is that he doesn't know what to do! I could go on but what's the point?
Maybe another effort will be made with the story sometime in the future with better results. You know, I think that it should be mandatory for film directors to take basic courses in psychology so that, at least, their "normal" characters (as opposed to psychopaths who they can make as weird as they like) will behave like normal people do behave and not totally irrationally!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I saw the very first movie about two very stupid and naive people
with some crappy relationship problems visited by a psycho, I was not
all that impressed. The first twist when they sacrifice their advantage
to the psycho might be interesting, but after 20 or so twists its just
dull and boring. This movie follows this very formula which makes it
annoying. No special effect, nothing like Contagion that I have
This movie is incredibly dull and boring, because all these characters are really annoying. The husband is wimpy wimpish wimp with no ability do do anything useful: He cant start a generator. He cant use the RC radio. He cant make decisions by himself. He cant even carry a gun, he can only carry it as it would be a dead mouse. He seems to be able just run around in his nice Nike outfit and be ready to forgive his wife everything anytime. He is really freaky picture of Modern Man and his character fills me with terror.
The wife is even more annoying. She is passive aggressive type that cant even do simple house jobs or help with the wood. She is just whiny and complaining all the time. All she can do is hide at home and write her complaints into her shiny Apple MacBook. She cannot use any reasoning from the beginning to the very end of the movie. The only positive thing I can say is that she is at least capable of pulling the trigger from time to time. So she is probably one bit less wimpy that her husband.
The nutty stranger is clear nutcase from the very beginning to the end when we can see he is just slightly more primitive version of Modern Man wimp inside. He is pretty annoying like all the bad characters from similar movies. It is just sad for me to see the wimp people to be his slaves from the start to the end giving him every advantage every time. This is just depressing.
Fortunately the movie ends well: All these useless creatures are eliminated from the gene pool. Praise the great Darwin! The humanity may see brighter days in the future. One extra star for the positive ending.
Any film relying on just three main characters needs to make sure the
actors are up to the job. This film from a new director got it spot on
as far as I'm concerned.
Jamie Bell has well and truly come of age and shown himself to be a superb actor. Thandie Newton is as always a good bet and of course Cillian Murphy makes it a hat trick.
People have pointed out plot errors and there are a few but I feel that watching a film always involves leaving reality at the door to a certain extent so think this is nitpicking.
Enjoy this film for what it is. A low budget thriller that punches above it's weight!
'Retreat' characterises the phrase, 'out of your comfort zone'. It puts
characters, actors and filmmakers in this situation, from which all
responded more than credibly. This psychological thriller keeps giving
you the inch that something isn't right, it toys with your suspicions
whilst keeping you sceptical yet engrossed in the events.
The characters question morality with their paradoxical natures, Thandie Newton and Cillian Murphy both being vulnerable yet assertive in their own way, with Jamie Bell being selfish but also selfless. The depiction, for the bulk of the story, of a power struggle between 3 individuals instead of a married couple and an outsider enhances its impact.
Unquestionably, the concept would have fallen flat without the acting performances to build upon an otherwise unremarkable setting. It made the film better than it should have been. Cillian Murphy became the unwilling victim rather than his regular victimiser role whilst Thandie Newton is a broken individual yet is the stronger willed. Both were outstanding but were outshone by Jamie Bell who grips you with his extremity, never quite revealing whether he is good, bad or evil. He keeps you on your toes, the essence of good thriller acting.
'Retreat' is closed enough to convey its own perceptions but open enough to allow you to interpret it as you please. In many ways, the production is far from spectacular and lifeless to the point of being depressing. But that's what gives it the suspenseful edge.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Cillian Murphy stars in another film that has a horrific and lethal
condition wreaking havoc like a mass murderer in plain sight. But
unlike the hit '28 Days Later', 'Retreat' doesn't really have a
cautious sense of optimism at it's heart. Or any somewhat cartoonish
creatures pursuing the heroes through urban and rural environs. This
movie is as much a story of a pandemic allegedly touching various parts
of the globe as a tale of a marriage in crisis and the savagery
involved in giving someone (a stranger or loved one) the benefit of the
doubt and realizing far too late that the road to hell IS paved with
The married couple here are played by Murphy (as Martin, a somewhat timid husband character who has a quiet dignity, but is poised to explore his dormant aggressive side) and Thandie Newton (in an at times volcanic, but always emotionally involving performance as Kate). The two arrive on a grey afternoon at the site of their lodgings, a lonely and frigid looking island with typically near gale force winds whipping about. Connections to others and basic convenience are tenuous at best (an older man who takes them there on his small boat and stirs deep sadness in both with an innocent comment, a CB radio at the mercy of the elements, plus a generator always ready to cry "Uncle!" and flat out stop functioning). They settle in as best they can when trouble arrives.
Jamie Bell literally stumbles into their lives, in Army garb and suffering from more than a nasty bleeding wound to his head. He's brought into their cottage, unconscious and provoking curiosity and fear in his good samaritan hosts. The man has stories to tell when finally awake. South America was ground zero for the fatal infectious agent he swears has now spread to the world's other continents. His training in the forces makes him much more adept at reacting to what needs to be done when fearing possible unwanted visitors trying to overtake the building all three now must share. But this Private named Jack goes from sensibly take charge to near paranoid and dictatorial in a very short period. The furniture is chopped apart and used to board up all the doors and windows. Tensions mount quickly as Jack insists they remain inside at all times.
Bell's a revelation in this light years from 'Billy Elliot' role. His interloper's contempt for and hostility towards Martin and Kate becomes a chilling study in how certain unbalanced military men who've been exposed to severe trauma (and questionable matters approved by their superior officers and government officials as well) are so removed from the comparative ease of civilian life that they're seeing much of relating to 'normal' society as a psychological invasion. The story of this triangle and it's nightmarish consequences are impossible to forget and well worth experiencing in co-writer/director Carl Tibbetts' first rate film. It offers no simple conclusions and will demand a certain toughness from the audience. Proceed with caution!
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