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Adrián García Bogliano
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A brutal murder leads to the investigation that uncovers a hidden secret. The clock is ticking for what may be a tragic end. 1902 is the silent short story of forbidden love, blind justice, and betrayal.
Tommy Cowley is a young father inflicted with chronic agoraphobia since his wife was brutally attacked by a gang of a twisted feral children. Trapped in the dilapidated suburbia of Edenstown, he finds himself terrorised by the same gang, who now seem intent on taking his baby daughter. Torn between the help of an understanding nurse and a vigilante priest, Tommy sets out to learn the nightmarish truth surrounding these hooded children. He also discovers that to be free of his fears, he must finally face the demons of his past and enter the one place that he fears the most - the abandoned tower block known as the Citadel. Written by
When Tommy leaves his home near the start of the film to take the baby to the centre, by his front door there is a phone base with no phone, when he returns later there is a phone in the cradle. See more »
Tommy watches helpless as his pregnant wife is brutally attacked by some kid gang, an event that leaves him with agoraphobia. She manages to deliver the child and months later, the children attack him once again, apparently targeting the baby; Tommy must fight his fears in order to save his child.
Nothing too creative here. Claran Foy might have 'based' this on a real experience, but there is little original here; the movie feels like a mix of 'Heartless' with 'The Brood'. In truth, I couldn't shake the similarities that kept rising between this and Cronenberg's twisted fantasy/horror. But unlike that one 'Citadel' tries to be 'serious' or somewhat realistic, which doesn't work. In fact, it is exactly the pretentiousness of trying to make it carry a realistic message and tone that makes this film so weak.
Apparently people think this is a social commentary. If this is, it is just a terrible one or very badly mishandled. It might be about street violence and the whole thing gears towards 'you mustn't be afraid of walking around in public'... But street violence IS real; we shouldn't hide because of it, but 'not hiding' and 'going into a gang's den fearlessly' are two completely different things.
Plus, what was the deal with the kids? We never get an explanation, or even a hint, of what they are, except that they started 'normal' and, inexplicably, became some kind of monster. It is not necessary to give a clear-cut explanation to everything, but when you try to keep a 'realistic' tone to the film and then go and bring to the screen a half-demon, fear-smelling thing... Well, you really jumped the shark there, Claran Foy.
Acting is all around the place, partly due to the lousy characters. Tommy (Aneurin Barnard) is painful to watch; it is one thing to portray an agoraphobic realistically, another is to make him an exaggerated afraid-of-everything, irritating stereotype (that is more of a character criticism, though Barnard's acting certainly didn't help changing it). The bleeding-heart, 'I want to help everyone', 'these kids are just victims of society!' Marie (Wunmi Mosaku) is equally terrible to watch (her death was the closest to a 'good moment'); James Cosmo, the priest, is the only one that manages to make a fun watch.
Being Foy's first picture, it is commendable that he managed to create such a good mood and even a few adequate jump scenes (something many seasoned directors still fail at doing). He just needs to hone his screen writing abilities (or better yet, get someone else to write for him) and he should do well.
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