Directed by: Drew Hall
Starring: Clayne Crawford, Ethan Embry, Mykelti Williamson, Gary Grubbs, Chelsea Bruland, Catalina Soto-Aguilar Kind
Ben, a police officer who’s part of an anti-terrorist task force, suffers a major trauma when he confronts a bomber planting a second device in a disused building. Waking in hospital, he discovers that everything is a little…off. His boss, though concerned for his well-being, is being overly enigmatic, as is the elderly Peter the security guard/custodian. However any concerns he has about his surroundings are pushed aside when it becomes apparent that the bomber, Daniel, has followed him to the hospital, with deadly intent…
We recently reviewed CTU: Special Ops, the first feature directed by Drew Hall. It’s an enjoyable action movie which does suffer a little from last-minute changes to the script which leaves a few plot threads hanging. I’ve been fortunate enough to see a preview of Drew’s follow-up movie, and can happily report that not only is it not afflicted by the same issues but builds upon the strengths of CTU.
Working from his own script, Drew’s film works on a number of different layers at the same time. Any horror fan worth his/her salt will work out at least part of Ben’s predicament, however it is the way it plays out which makes the film unique, and details are teased out, not only about what is happening in the film’s present, but what has happened in the past. There are plenty of visual clues and titbits of overheard dialogue to clue you in as the story progresses.
Convergence is rather refreshingly devoid of obvious plot clichés. For example, when Ben finally discovers what has happened, he’s pragmatic enough to accept the facts but still determined to protect the people around him.
The production values are really strong. The action, which peppers the film throughout, is very well handled, with gun-fights and hand-to-hand scraps being well choreographed, shot and edited in a nice clear style. There are some very atmospheric sets, such as the makeshift altar Ben stumbles across. Makeup and costume design is also spot-on: there are some strong gore-fx and the quartet of killers have a very unique, sinister look to them (its basically their “normal” look, but in each case given a small macabre twist).
And then there’s the cast, who really work the material. Clayne Crawford who plays Ben has a particularly strong scene where he reminisces about his father. Wearing his glasses he comes across as a Jack Ryan type of cerebral hero who’s as likely to think himself out of a situation as fight his way out. Meanwhile Ethan Embry’s Daniel is a very enigmatic, sadistic killer, able to convince people to participate in his plans.
There is so much to consider with this film already, yet I’m deliberately being obtuse – there’s a lot I’m not saying and I’ll leave you to find out why. As mentioned earlier this film works on different levels, and it is likely to stay on your mind for quite a while after viewing.
Drew Hall’s second feature builds on the successes of CTU and learns from its errors. It presents a refreshing take on a particular genre and is thoroughly compelling from start to finish.
9 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)
Source: Flash Bang (66)