Reviews & Counting
# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Carl Tibbetts

Cillian Murphy/Martin
Jamie Bell/Jack
Thandie Newton/Kate
8 10
With their marriage in trouble due to a past tragic event, Kate (Thandie Newton) and Martin (Cillian Murphy) hit up an old shack on a deserted island in the name of healing their wounds and mending their relationship. But their “should have been therapeutic” vaca u-turns into a nightmare on island street when a wounded soldier (Jamie Bell) lands on their doorstep. We’ll leave it at that…
I had never heard of RETREAT, but when an early Press Screening (it's slated to come out in 2012 via Magnet) opened up for it, the top notch cast alone sold me on going to tap it. A quick look online revealed that there was a trailer available; I didn’t watch it, I wanted to go in there with a clean slate  and I’m happy that I did. Yup, RETREAT grabbed me by the throat, Ike Turner-ed me around and threw me to the ground the same way Sam Raimi did it to his fans with that Evil Dead, Diablo Cody script polish, remake news. This is definitely one of those “less you know about it beforehand, the better" jamboree, so I will go out of my way to be vague here.

RETREAT reeled me in off the bat with a wonderful aerial shot of a small boat at sea and for some reason, right there, I knew I was in for a solid picture. Director Carl Tibbetts razor eye behind the lens went on to really make the most of the striking settings at hand (the majestic ocean, the run down shack, the lonely island) capturing all of its beautiful while channeling its uneasiness; one that echoed the troubled mindset of our main characters and the twisted tale that would eventually unfold. Speaking of the tale, I really grooved to Gary Sinyor and David Frost’s screenplay here, which in my useless opinion, did it pretty much all right. The dialogue was "on", the characters layered and the engaging aura of tension and pain between the two lovers was explored in a subtle and credible fashion as opposed to being hammered our way. And once the perturbing element was tossed into the mix, changing the game for our love birds (and for us, the audience), well let’s just say that the narrative took me for quite the visceral ride.

Most of the twists and turns that "Oh Yeah-ed!" through the walls Kool-Aid man style surprised me, others punched me in the face and others kneed me in the nads. Not a bad way to spend 2 hours! Hey I took it all on the chin and was a better hombre for it. None of it would have had  any impact  if the actors in the house weren’t tops and in RETREAT that wasn’t even close to being a problem. What a cast we had over here! The awesome Cillian Murphy internalized his performance and every ounce of emotion he went through was expressed through his body language and eyes. Loved him! On her end the lovely  Thandie Newton gave up an intense and moving show. As for Jamie Bell, what can I say, the lad owned this movie like nobody’s uncle's bitch. He commanded the screen every time he was on it and nailed his character’s mind set ideally. Add to all that "Arrow Love"; some thick suspense (this one had me by the balls many o times and it wasn't in the name of tickling them), plot twists I didn't see coming and an affecting and fairly morose score by Ilan Eshkeri and you get one of the best films I have seen this year. It will make my Top 10 of 2011 for sure!

If I had any qualms with it; I’d have to say that it did remind me of a couple of older films (One of them is Dead Calm, the other... I won't tell) hence it felt a pinch (and I said a pinch) deja vu. And yes a couple (two) of the “thriller” bits demanded some suspension of disbelief. Nothing too severe but it had to be spat. Other than that; what can I say, I totally fell in love with RETREAT as it did everything a smart genre film should: affect me, take me aback, have me sit on the edge of my seat, made me root for its heroes and then it uppercut me to the mat where I damn belong. Put this one on your "must see" radars ghouls and living dead dolls, it’s worth it!
There was blood. Nothing overt, and I won’t spoil how or why that blood seeped.
T & A
We get a close up of Thandie Newton’s butt in tight jeans bending over while the ladies get a cut Jamie Bell shirtless.
It's DEAD CALM in a shack but with a heftier bag of tricks! First thing I spat out to my bud when I came out of this screening was: “Feels good to see a great movie”. And by great, I mean one with a well rounded screenplay, layered characters, stand-out performances, remarkable imagery, turns that I couldn't telegraph and tension galore. Granted some suspension of disbelief had to be applied a couple of times; but that was nothing compared to all the loving this one was giving. On the whole, RETREAT owned me, plain and simple. Hope yall dig it too!
Cillian Murphy replaced Jason Isaacs in the flick while Jamie Bell replaced David Tennant.