Set over 24 hours in London, SURGE is a stripped back thriller about a man who goes on a bold and reckless journey of self-liberation.
Ben Whishaw is one of those actors who you can rely on to be good in pretty much every role, whether it be leading or supporting, whether it be the voice of ‘Paddington’ or Q in the Bond series or in independent roles such as ‘Lilting’ where he plays a man grieving his deceased partner. In ‘Surge’, we get to see him in a way unlike before as a man teetering on the verge of a breakdown who goes on a crime spree across London. As an actor generally known for jovial, more introverted roles, it’s a lot of fun to see him let loose in this anxiety inducing, if inconsistent movie.
Joseph (Whishaw) works at a busy London airport checking passengers who set off the metal detector going through security. He’s on edge from when we meet him, hostile to passengers and becoming increasingly agitated – it doesn’t look like much would happen to make him snap and that becomes the case to form much of the movie. It’s a movie that draws inspiration from the likes of ‘Taxi Driver’, but I also found similarities with the works of the Safdie Brothers, ‘Good Time’ in particular but there are also shades of ‘Uncut Gems’ in the nervy, edgy directing style. The director is Aneil Karia based on a short he made a few years ago, and his direction is dynamic, using a lot of handheld cameras to follow Joseph around, putting the audience right into his manic headspace. I liked the use of the less touristy parts of London to give it a gritty feel (the contrast with the tourists arriving at the airport worked well, intentional or not), although I did feel it was a bit one dimensional and predictable, lacking the overarching societal commentary of say ‘Taxi Driver’ – not that every film should be compared to a landmark of the genre.
If you like this type of movie then you’ll enjoy ‘Surge’ and it’s worth a watch for Whishaw’s manic and wired performance alone – an entertaining thriller and you can catch it on Curzon Home Cinema now.
Directed By: Aneil Karia
Starring: Ben Whishaw, Ellie Haddington, Ian Gelder and Jasmine Jobson