By: Anthony Francis
One man driving his car trying to fix personal and professional issues. The camera never leaving the car.The driver the only face the audience sees for much of the film’s entirety.
Steven Knight’s 2013 film “Locke” got there first. Tom Hardy played the lead. Hardy’s character never left the car, nor did the film. A unique way to make a movie and it worked extremely well.
While I loved Hardy’s performance in that film and admire what Knight crafted, writer/director Samuel Bartlett comes along and one-ups Hardy and Knight’s film with “Intersection”, a gripping and well-directed Australian thriller that is wire-tight tension from beginning to end.
Matt Doran stars as Jake Galloway, a man with a shady lifestyle who schemes his way into his financial stability, ruining people’s lives and involving himself with more than a few shady characters.
Things are already on shaky ground when Jake receives a message from an unknown caller with an electronically disguised voice. The caller informs Jake that he has kidnapped his son (providing vocal and photographic evidence) and instructs him to navigate the streets of Sydney in one night, completing a series of dangerous tasks but never leaving the car.
This is the kind of film that tests the dedication of the audience. It asks today’s short-attention-span moviegoers to settle in, be patient, and buckle up for the thrill ride that will come.
Bartlett’s screenplay wastes no time, as Jake receives the phone call almost immediately and sets off on the mysterious caller’s deadly game.
As Jake’s car snakes through the neon lit Sydney night, he encounters an ever-growing number of increasingly insurmountable tasks.
Tim Glastonbury’s camera and Michael Amaroso’s editing work in unison to give the film its visual bite. This a slick looking film that uses darkness and tight framing to highlight the isolation and helplessness Jake is experiencing in each scene; his car cutting through the streets like a blade trying to slice its way out of a trap.
Matt Doran does some fantastic work as Jake. I imagine it is tough to build a multi-layered character when confined to the inside of a car but Doran (as Tom Hardy did before him) pulls it off and proves himself to be an exceptionally fine actor. I commend his work here. His performance is riveting.
What transpires throughout Jake’s nightmare journey becomes more and more deadly as the tasks become almost impossible to complete.
In a nod to 1994’s “Speed”, the mysterious caller gives Jake ridiculous time schedules that won’t allow him to stop unless the caller decrees it. Stop lights, speed limits, and even the police can’t slow Jake down. His son’s life is at stake.
The element of surprise and too many spoilers prevent me from exposing almost any plot points. The big twists and turns are too important to ruin the surprise. They must be experienced in real time.
With a crisp running time of only one hour and fifteen minutes, “Intersection” is a sharp little thriller that builds palpable tension through good dialogue and uber-tight filmmaking.
Samuel Bartlett’s excellent film is tight, crisp, exciting, and (most importantly) edge-of-your-seat entertainment that doesn’t insult its audience.