Director: Nick Gillespie. Writer : Nick Gillespie.
Starring. Gordon Kennedy, Michael Smiley, Rupert Evans, UK. 1h 28m.
I saw a preview for this by accident trying to find details for the less than imaginative sci fi flick The Tank (2017), I am unsure how my mother knew about it and that I was totally oblivious, but these things do happen and thankfully she had the film on DVD and after seeing that Ben Wheatley had his fingers in this sticky pie so I got stuck in.
The film jumps into action as a group of soldiers are running through the woods until one is injured, the group struggle on through the wood until they get to a farm and locate three girls in a container, two in orange jumpsuits and one partially conscious. Now with more burdens they decide to leave behind the wounded soldier (Smiley) in the back of an abandoned car as the unknown enemy encroaches and he pulls his gun…. Meanwhile his team chance upon an abandoned tank and hastily climb inside to hide from the enemy but then they realise they are now locked inside, with a mysterious foe rattling their cage and more mysteries and dangers on the inside of the tank.
It’s hard to describe this movie as anything other than claustrophobic and a little bit chaotic. The beginning was quite confusing as no enemy could be spotted and the film crash lands with so much going on, bit by bit the action slows down and a majority of the film is from the inside of the rancid tank. Now and again a mysterious figure morphs in and out of view of the tiny glass windows but most of the drama comes from the questions inside the tank, tensions rise and tempers flare but really they just spend a lot of time shouting at each other…
Sadly the film is way too long for surprise ending, Gillespie handles the tension well with this experimental movie, using dream sequences to heighten the jump scares and contrasting shots of a cool and peaceful field vs the hot sweaty internal going on within the tank. The film manages not to give away too many clues as to what’s really going on it’s open for interpretation all the way through, but there’s not enough going on in the tank to really capture the imagination for the amount of time it demands. Gillespie has a decent back catalogue of short films behind him, and he doesn’t seem to be able to get out of that groove. Rupert Evans has always seems like a bit of a slow and boring actor for me, the star of the show was Michael Smiley who probably has the smallest role in the cast but a surprise revival of his character near the ends adds some humour and spice just before the brutal hellish ending. Kennedy was a bit underused in this role, he really held well in Borderlands, but was
A lot more could have been done to capture the imagination, the concept is brilliant, and the filming is spot on, very much akin to Ben Wheately (possibly due to his help in the production), there is an overwhelming attention to detail, Gillespie pulls you into the drama then whisks you away for a stroll around the countryside before launching you back into the dark and troubled tank for more action. It has all the elements of a good psychological thriller but not enough magic to make them work together which is a shame because there’s lots to like here.
R – Tank 432 (2015), Deathwatch (2002), R-Point (2004) Borderlands (2013)
L – Military Horrors
5s – Michael Smiley,