I wasn't sure what to expect of this film. The trailer definitely cued my curiosity but lately trailers have been deceiving. Thankfully, this film delivers on all counts.
I'll begin with the film's cinematography...yes don't worry I haven't forgotten the story but the cinematography is outstanding. From extreme long shots to extreme close ups, director Jean-Baptiste Leonetti uses every possible angle and frame distance to keep this thrilling ride moving forward and explore these two men and their face-off. Much of the camera movement reminded me of films like Jaws and Duel (both directed by the incredible Steven Spielberg).
The tale is that of survival of the fittest. It is quite Darwinistic is the way it shows both of its characters willing to do the impossible to reach their goals - which brings us to the film's perfectly executed paradigm.
Ben (Jeremy Irvine) the film's protagonist vs. Madec (Michael Douglas) the film's antagonist. At 24:25 the film's first act ends upon the death of the old man that Ben knows from before and Madec deciding to frame Ben. This launches us into the film's second act and the beginning of the cat and mouse for approximately 46 minutes where Ben not only faces off against Madec but also against the boiling sun, the waterless desert, and his own inner conflicts. Leaving us the final 20 minutes (also an approximation) for the film's final act, where my main problem of the film comes into play.
In my opinion the film should have ended with Madec flying away in the helicopter and Ben going back to his girlfriend. Having Madec come back to Ben to "clean up his own mess" was a bit of an exaggerated end. I can see why the screenwriter must have felt that a more solid resolution was necessary, however, the film ending 5 minutes prior would have given a more realistic and obscure ending.
I looked over at my dad and said "if this is where the film ends I'm going to scream" after the screen cuts to black once Madec flies off and Ben screams after him. Looking back an ending like that would have been perfect for a film that would have us believing that Ben won at the end then pull the rug from under our feet and have Madec get away with everything.
That was my only annoyance.
Michael Douglas and Jeremy Irvine Michael Douglas and Jeremy Irvine shine in this edge of your seat, thirst-inducing, cat and mouse film.
The film truly relies on these two characters and it just works. Its simplistic production value, twisted story arc, complex characters, minimalistic score all together worked in harmony. May the sun never set on such films.