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The Retreat (DVD)

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Actors: Cillian Murphy, Thandie Newton, Jamie Bell / Directors: Carl Tibbetts / Classification: 15 / Studio: Sony Pictures Home Ent. / Released: 17 Oct 2011 / Run Time: 86 minutes

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      15.11.2012 16:58
      Very helpful



      Ok if you can catch it on Netflix

      I was intrigued by the plot of this film and as soon as I read the description I knew it would be something that my partner would most likely enjoy so I decided to hold off and wait for him to watch it with as it's rare that we find a film that we are both interested in! This is a film only review.

      The film begins by introducing us to Kate and Martin, they are a married couple and it appears as though they are going on a trip or a holiday as they both have bags and then meet a man and board a small boat. We then learn that they are infact going to stay on an island off of Scotland where they will be the only inhibitants. The man who takes them over to the island on his boat is called Doug and he deals with all of the holiday lettings and takes care of the cottage.

      Doug is keen to learn why the couple are on holiday and is likely to be interested in making friendly conversation and making them feel welcome. However, Kate and Martin seem a little cagey and in the end Martin just tells him they simply wanted some peace and quiet. Once in the cottage Doug gives them a quick lesson with the CB radio because of course, there are no landlines or mobile phone receptions and once settled, Kate gets out her laptop and begins to type and from this we learn that she has recently had a miscarriage and this has put a strain on the marriage.

      The following day, the couple experience numerous problems with the electric. They manage to get through to Doug on the CB radio a few times but then all contact stops. The couple are worried and despite persisting with the radio they cannot get through. They are stuck on the island and understandably, Kate is starting to get very upset. They go out to try to find some way of getting help but when they do they find a man, unconscious and near death covered in blood. What has happened?

      I had really high expectations of this film which was probably a little ambitious because I had never actually heard of it before the other day and it was only released last year so you'd think I would have done. I was surprised to see that it starred Thandie Newton as Kate which raised my hopes even more!

      I thought the film was good, but not as brilliant as I had anticipated. I really enjoyed the opening half an hour or so where we learned more about Kate and Martin as I felt that whilst we really got to know Kate, Martin was still a bit of a mystery. It was obvious their relationship was going through a bad patch and both me and my partner, as viewers couldn't help but side with Katie because she was grieving for the loss of her child and Martin seemed to be giving no support whatsoever. There also seemed to be a breakdown of communication between the pair which was sad to watch as they really needed one another through this difficult time.

      However, after about fifteen minutes of finding the man on the island I found the film really drop in quality. All of a sudden it became very repetitive which initially was ok but it went on for 45 minutes and I found it quite boring. I can't really say anymore here without giving the plot away but I just felt that it was really lacking something in the second half and there wasn't really much excitement happening.

      In contrast, the ending was good and the film and plot picked up their pace again in order to conclude. I enjoyed the ending and felt that it covered any questions I had and the best thing was that certain things happened that were completely unexpected. At the very end of the film I actually gasped in shock because I wasn't expecting that to happen!

      The acting in the film is of a high quality and because for the majority of the film there are only three characters I think this was really important. Each of them really made the character their own and I really felt as though I was watching something real rather than something that was strictly scripted.

      The scenery is of course beautiful. I love the British countryside and I am desperate to visit the Highlands so I did see it as idyllic, however I don't think I would like to stay on an island alone with no way of getting back onto the mainland!

      I did feel that the film was a tiny bit too long and it could have been a stronger film if it was just ten minutes shorter. To gain these ten minutes I believe that sacrificing ten minutes of the repetitive scenes from the middle of the film would have actually made the film stronger because there would have been less repetition and therefore the plot would have held a faster pace and generated interest more quickly.

      Overall, I was really keen to like this film and although I did definitely like it, I certainly didn't love it. My partner found it very average too and we both found it quite difficult to follow in places. I found the ending to pick up pace and I did enjoy the ending but I was still quite glad when the credits began to roll which I think was a shame because I did really want to enjoy it.

      ==Additional Information==
      The film was released in 2011.
      It stars Thandie Newton, Cillian Murphy and Jamie Bell.
      It runs for 90 minutes.
      It is rated a 15 in the UK.

      A fantastic idea for a plot but one that I feel could have been achieved much more successfully than it was. It was a refreshing change to see a film like this being British made but for both me and my partner we just found it average and weren't really impressed with it as we had anticipated.


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