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Powerless (2004)

2:03 | Trailer
When Sarah witnessed the murder of her father in a London back ally her life was shattered. Moving far away from the city was the only thing that seemed to make sense. But moving your life ... See full summary »


Matthew B.P. Daniels (screenplay), Seth Wilkins (story)





Credited cast:
Bethany Wilkins Bethany Wilkins ... Sarah
Matthew Wilkins Matthew Wilkins ... Peter
Matthew B.P. Daniels Matthew B.P. Daniels ... Tom
Hannah Wilkins Hannah Wilkins ... Rachel
Martha Wilkins Martha Wilkins ... Ruth
Samuel Wilkins Samuel Wilkins ... David
Rodger Beattie Rodger Beattie ... The Father
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Benjamin Fields Benjamin Fields
Hannah Polland Hannah Polland ... Rachel


When Sarah witnessed the murder of her father in a London back ally her life was shattered. Moving far away from the city was the only thing that seemed to make sense. But moving your life can't always change your life. An overwhelming sense of loss has left Sarah's family damaged and divided. When the power fails during a muted New Years Eve celebration in their remote mountain home, the family soon realise that something devastating has occurred. Vulnerable and alone (Sarah's mother having left only a day earlier) Sarah and her three younger siblings must learn to survive in a new and uncertain world. Struggling for food, insecure and reeling in a search for meaning the family is yet to face its deepest challenge... the past. Written by This Can Motion Pictures

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When there's no power, what power do you have? See more »


Drama | Thriller



Official Sites:

This Can Motion Pictures





Release Date:

17 September 2005 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »


Box Office


$500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


With the exception of Director Matt Daniels (Matthew B.P. Daniels) who plays the family friend Tom, all the characters in Powerless are played by real life siblings, the Wilkins, and even Matt is related to the Wilkins by marriage. See more »

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User Reviews

A solid debut from a promising director
13 September 2005 | by GlennisbestSee all my reviews

When the lights went out overhead in the Cardiff film festival screening of powerless I thought to myself, "wouldn't it be ironic if there was a power cut…now?" Thankfully I got to watch the whole film without interruption.

Matt Daniels and Seth Wilkins script charts the survival of some well drawn characters in a somewhat familiar mold – a broken family in a time of crisis. Post 9/11 terrorism being the crisis maybe, but this was premiered before the 7/7/05 London attacks, pre-dating the reality of new terror attack on British soil. This can only add to the films relevance and validity.

Powerless however is not a study of terrorism so much as it is an exploration of a family under intense pressure.

Spielberg's War of the worlds and Matt Daniels' Powerless have a few similarities then in that respect (Daniel's came first), but where Spielberg chose to focus on a broken family in a time of disaster to 'see how they run, when we shoot at them with all we've got', Daniels chose a similar subject and focus without all the comforts of ILM's wizardry. This is by no means an action film, this film is about our dependencies and independence, our comforts and our complacency, our strengths and frailties. It's about surviving. The result is a film that still captivates in many ways. A much closer view of real people in a more credible situation.

Powerless, then, weighs heavily on its complex narrative for intrigue and mystery, but leans even more heavily on its young actors who bear the weight well, almost like a real family....wait a sec! (as the credits roll you'll be surprised to realize that the majority of the cast are actually brothers and sisters and most other people in the movie are related to them also!). On their first outing on the big screen they prove that they can act and act well. They effectively transmit the claustrophobia and emotions of being stranded in such a way that you cannot help but begin to imagine yourself trying to handle life without electricity. The overall effect is unnerving, believable, credible, and the ending is complex and interesting! I was well impressed!

Powerless is fueled by a metabolism of a director's love of films, the sheer confidence of its actors and a twisting plot. We should take pride in the fact that independent filmmakers can come up with this with only basic tools. Don't get me wrong, the film is not perfect and yes at times the inexperience shows itself, but the enigma of Powerless is not in its perfection; the triumph of this movie is that finally outside of the wasted millions of Hollywood dollars, here are some pounds well spent on a topic that's ever closer to home and was made at home.

That's why everyone stood and applauded at the end of the Cardiff Screening. A solid debut from a promising director. Well done.

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