Monday, 2 July 2012

Review: Storage 24

Year: 2012

Director: Johannes Roberts
Screenplay: Noel Clarke, Davie Fairbanks, Marc Small
Starring: Noel Clarke, Colin O'Donoghue and Antonia Campbell-Hughes

Synopsis is here:

Storage 24 is a MacDonald's meal of a movie, in which it won't be particularly nourishing to a cinephiles palette, but at a stretch, it fills a hole. There's no need for bush beating here. The film is not original and wears, its love of Alien/Aliens on it's sleeve. It would have been nice for the film to have as much invention as Attack the Block, as it would have been great if its Roberts took full advantage of it's setting. However, I didn't have any animosity to Storage 24 as other website reviewers have had. Possibly because I'm the red headed stepchild of this blogging game.

Clarke himself has stated on the Kermode and Mayo wittertainment podcast that he had his own reservations and concerns on the opening segments of Joe Cornish's ghetto sci-fi feature and with fair point. The opening gambit of AtB wishes for a leap of faith that some may not be willing to take. We meet those protagonists as willing participants of a mugging. Storage 24 has Clarke writing himself as a suited sad sack, whose just been dumped out of a long term relationship. It's easier to take, and Clarke placement of himself in the lead role strives to show a similar element of turning convention on it's head as Ridley Scott's seminal creature feature. Clarke's Charlie is not something we often see of Black British characters in such genre cinema. In comparison to Cornish's aggressive Block characters, one can see what Clarke is trying to do. 

I kind of enjoyed this, along with many of the characters and their traits. I found enough conviction in them and their relationships to be invested in them. The film takes a mistake with a stock character, whose final quote doubles up as reference to Aliens, becomes their only worthwhile moment. Apart from this however, no one offends. Perhaps they should, as to perk the film up slightly. Every character follows the tropes as they should, which is fine, but also helps display why AtB polarised and appealed the way it did. 

The film does suffer from Johannes Roberts' clumsy visual direction, hack and slash editing and Clarke's sometimes ill advised humour. The humour screws with the overall tone and is sometimes badly timed. It also doesn't help distract from Roberts wish to shoot nearly all the film in awkward extreme close up. It's clear that the production value isn't too high but it seems that Roberts couldn't find enough ways around gaining atmosphere other than short focused face shots. It's a clear attempt to create a claustrophobic atmosphere, but the film itself doesn't gains a proper geography. The storage centre never becomes the labyrinthine entrapment it could be, merely becoming a one or two dusty rooms and a basement. You get the feeling that more could be done.

 However, as a low budget B movie, the film more or less delivers. Cheap CGI aside, I enjoyed the creature design and its mostly scant appearances. I didn't mind the practical effects either. Clarke is a little too charming for his misery guts character and yet his charisma does pulls us through the film. That Clarke has managed to work with Universal and get this produced says more about the film than the film itself. As flawed as Storage 24 is, Clarke's involvement reminds us of his intent.