Director: Pedro C. Alonso
Cast: Eddie Marsan, Paul Anderson, Ivana Baquero, Richard Brake
Watch Feedback online in the UK: iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play / Sky Store
Directed by Pedro C. Alonso and co-written by Alberto Martini (Summer Camp), Feedback is worthy addition to the single-location thriller subgenre. It earns further points for strong performances and some brutal twists, but it also tries too hard to be up-to-the-minute, with some unintended consequences.
Set in present-day London, the film takes place in a radio station, where successful late-night host Jarvis Dolan (Andrew Wilde) is forced by his boss (Anthony Head) to have his former partner, Andrew Wilde (Peaky Blinders’ Paul Anderson), on his show as a special guest, with a view to them maybe working together again. However, that’s the least of Dolan’s problems, because as soon as he goes on air, a pair of masked gunmen (Richard Brake and Oliver Coopersmith) burst into the studio and take his producer (Alexis Rodney) and assistant (Ivana Baquero) hostage.
Forced to broadcast what they tell him, Dolan plays for time while he tries to figure out what the gunmen want. But when Andrew arrives, somehow oblivious to the studio situation, things take an unexpected turn as the gunmen force Dolan to dig into an incident from their past.
Marsan is terrific as Dolan, a complex, multi-layered character who clearly has more going on then we see on the surface and appears to always be thinking a couple of steps ahead. To that end, the audience confidently expect him to out-wit his attackers, and that tension between expectation and reality is a key part of the film.
Anderson is equally good as Andrew, exposing a telling gap between cocky public celebrity persona and whiny insecurity when actually called to account. There’s also strong support from Alana Boden as Dolan’s daughter, who also works at the station.
Alonso does an excellent job of maintaining tension and there’s an unexpectedly high gore level for this sort of thing. He also orchestrates a number of decent twists, although you can’t help but feel that they missed a trick with the finale, as if there’s a final twist missing. (Either that, or a further revelation is too deeply buried in the script.)
The film earns its power with a sickeningly topical kick-in-the-teeth message, but it also stumbles in its attempts to establish its present-day credentials – it might be entertaining to hear Dolan rant about Brexit, but that also means the film runs the risk of dating very quickly.
On top of that, there are some annoyingly blatant inconsistencies – for example, the internet is supposedly down throughout the ordeal, yet the station’s Twitter feed is apparently fine. The film also fails to establish a coherent connection between what’s happening in the studio and what’s actually being broadcast, so it’s difficult to judge the impact of what’s being said. Although the film gets its central message across, it fails in its attempts to make wider comments about today’s society – you’re constantly expecting Dolan’s opening rants to connect to the story in some way, but they never do.
Ultimately, this is a powerfully acted and tense single-location thriller with a brutal conclusion that leaves a nasty taste in the mouth, but it’s undermined by inconsistencies and not quite the state-of-the-nation thriller it clearly wants to be.