VOD film review: Rupture
Matthew Turner | On 04, Nov 2016
Director: Steven Shainberg
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Peter Stormare, Kerry Bishe, Michael Chiklis
Watch Rupture online in the UK: Sky Cinema / NOW TV / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / iTunes / TalkTalk TV / Rakuten TV / Google Play
Back in 2002, director Steven Shainberg earned instant cult kudos with his BDSM indie hit Secretary. He followed that up with weird bio-drama Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus in 2006, but was then mysteriously absent from our screens for the next 10 years. Happily, his new film, Rupture, is as engagingly weird as you might hope, although it’s slightly let down by a rather low-key finale.
Noomi Rapace stars as Renee, a recently divorced Kansas City single mother, who’s trying to protect her pre-teen son Evan (Percy Hynes White) from discovering how mean his father (Paul Popowich) has become since their split. However, her life takes a sudden left turn, when, after dropping Evan off with his father, her car blows a tyre on the road and she’s suddenly bundled into a lorry, where she’s wrapped in duct tape and strapped down by a seemingly kind woman (Lesley Manville).
Once the truck arrives at its destination, Renee finds herself strapped to an operating table and surrounded by a group of mysterious scientists (including Peter Stormare, Michael Chiklis and Kerry Bishe), who proceed to ask her a series of questions, before subjecting her to a sequence of terrifying experiments, designed to scare her into a state of “rupture”. After a horrific ordeal, Renee manages to break free of her restraints and crawls into the air-ducts of the facility, but she’s unprepared for what she discovers in the neighbouring rooms.
Rapace makes a compelling central heroine, balancing a touching vulnerability with a core of wilful strength, as she struggles against her captors, desperate to see her son again. Considering the calibre of the supporting cast, they are largely wasted, but this is because the script opts to keep the scientists enigmatic and chillingly dispassionate for as long as possible.
It should be said, at this point, that this is emphatically not the film to see if you’re even remotely arachnophobic, as Renee’s ordeal… well, let’s just say it’s directly related to her specific phobia, as established in the opening scene of the film (also a rather nasty moment if you’re spider-averse). As such, the experimentation sequences are genuinely terrifying, even if the surrounding idea becomes increasingly strange and unreal.
The film benefits considerably from some unusually colourful production design work that recalls Dario Argento’s Suspiria – all warm, glowing pinks, reds and oranges, with a few blues thrown in for good measure. There’s also a nice visual nod to the carpet pattern in The Shining, suggesting a tongue-in-cheek element that doesn’t quite come through in the script.
The only real problem is that the film doesn’t quite know how to end, with a coda sequence that initially does the job, but then outstays its welcome and finishes on a rather flat note. Still, there’s plenty of enjoyable weirdness along the way and there are some intriguing ideas, even if it does all get a bit silly at a certain point. It’s a treat to have Shainberg back in the director’s chair – here’s hoping we won’t have to wait 10 years for his next film.
Rupture is available on Sky Cinema. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream it on NOW TV, as part of a £11.99 Sky Cinema Month Pass subscription – with a 7-day free trial.