Surge Review

surge movie review

Director: Aneil Karia
Starring: Ben Whishaw, Ellie Haddington, Ian Gelder and Jasmine Jobson

Ben Whishaw’s new film sees his character adventuring around London for 24 hours, unfortunately, no, it’s not the next Paddington film but instead, Surge, a new thriller about a man on the edge of a breakdown.

The film reunites Whishaw with director Aneil Karia who he previously worked with on the short film Beat.

This reunion has already proved an early success with awards nominations for both the leading man and the director at Sundance Film Festival, with Whishaw going on to win his respective acting award.

But will this success continue beyond the festival circuit and should audiences look forward to the general release of Surge?

Brace Yourselves For Surge

Surge movie stills ben whishaw

Credit: BBC Films

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Well, what audiences can look forward to is a blistering leading performance from Whishaw as he is an absolute force of nature in this film.

His work here is a masterclass in acting escalation, taking his character Joseph from a mild-mannered security worker to a dangerous man on an unhinged rampage in a blink of an eye, and so convincingly too.

This is demonstrated nowhere better than in a thrilling one-take sequence in the middle of the film where Joseph’s behaviour really spirals out of control and Whishaw is able to unleash the full power of his acting ability.

This creates a truly unpredictable watch and as a result, Surge often becomes an uncomfortable and unnerving watch but always in a truly compelling way.

Although, even before audiences are exposed to the full untamed ability of this leading performance Whishaw expertly helps contribute to the underlying tension in the picture thanks to his more subtle scenes as well.

This means that Surge has a very sinister tone to it from early on and the sense of foreboding is palpable throughout.

Does the Story Get Any of the Spotlight?

Surge Movie Ben Whishaw

Credit: BBC Films

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However, the strength of Whishaw’s performance is at risk of overshadowing the film as a whole potentially proving to be more memorable than the story itself.

Surge, at times, feels more like a vehicle for Whishaw’s performance than its own thing, telling less of a story and maybe offering more of a cinematic experience.

It could maybe be described as Locke meets Crank.

These are two films remembered more for their powerful and frantic central performances than their narratives.

Surge most definitely has the intensity of Tom Hardy’s performance in Locke while also sporting the more physical elements of Jason Statham’s high energy turn in Crank.

How viewers will react to this will differ greatly, some will complain that there isn’t enough narrative while others will be content with the progression of the story.

What can’t be disputed though is how engrossing Whishaw’s central performance is, either way making the film a success.

What’s Really Going On?

Surge Movie Stills

Credit: BBC Films

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There’s no doubt that the lack of exposition in the narrative will frustrate some viewers but Surge remains a gripping watch regardless.

It’s further proof of what a talent Whishaw really is and helps him to showcase even more of his range than he has already demonstrated.

His performance, as I’m sure is obvious, is easily the biggest talking point from the film and it’s definitely the case that with a less talented leading man Surge would not succeed in the same way that it does with him at the helm.

But does Surge do anything more than put Whishaw on a platform and let him perform?

I think it does, and while it might take repeat viewings to fully absorb everything that Surge has to offer thanks to Whishaw’s transfixing performance that will completely captivate the first time around, there’s something incredibly timely about an everyday man being only a few steps away from losing complete control.

What do you make of this review? Will you be watching Surge?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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