Surveillance (Review)

Strap yourself in for a bumpy ride, this film is car-azzzzeeee.

Check this: In the opening scene in Surveillance we see a couple woken from their sound sleep in pitch darkness, and watch on as they are beaten and abused.

Hubbie dies, wifey runs.

And aside from setting a tone this has almost nothing to do with the rest of the film.

Apparently the perpetrators of above said violence have been roaming far and wide slaughtering at will, after the latest spree the FBI are called in to assist with interviewing the witnesses in a quiet (read redneck) backwater town.

There are three witnesses from the same event;

– A local cop who was on the scene before the events happened
– A young woman who happens to be a hard core junkie
– A young girl about 8 years old

Bill Pullman and Julia Ormond are introduced to proceedings as the FBI support, although they take a back seat initially to allow the local police to hold the interviews.

The local cop is interviewed in one office by the local Police Chief and the junkie woman by two other cops in another room, Bill Pullman watches on through closed circuit cameras in another room, prodding and re-focussing the interviewers and interviewees where necessary.

In still another room Julia Ormond sits with the young girl Stephanie, whose entire family was killed in the earlier events.

As we see in flashback the version of events given by Redneck Cop 1 and Junkie-Woman are full of blatant lies that cover up certain facts that they don’t want the police to know.

Redneck Cop 1 had a partner who I will call Redneck Cop 2, they were a particularly nasty tandem, drinking and shooting guns while on duty, then pulling over innocent motorists on the lonely highway after shooting out their tyres (!) and then playing good cop / bad cop. The pair of negligent idiots then terrorise whoever is in the car for kicks and then send them off with a “warning”.

On this day two of the cars pulled over are filled with a young family, including Stephanie leaving for a holiday, and another couple of drug-fucked losers, including Junkie-Woman.

Everyone not being interviewed is dead.

As the story is largely told in flashback we realize that the two interviewees don’t want the real version of events to come out, as they will be painted in a bad light, especially Redneck Cop 1, who has to explain the death of Redneck Cop 2.

To this point Surveillance was a nasty opening followed by a police procedural, but 2/3s in a new development changes things around.

This might sound pretty bland to this point, but make no mistake Surveillance is at times dark, twisted and flat out mean. As the “true” events are shown in flashback more and more details emerge that shed light on the situation and provide more evidence as to the real nature of the characters, and I must admit I didn’t predict some of the things that suddenly emerged, even though this movie almost dared the viewer to try to predict what was coming.

I thought afterwards that while the movie was OK there were simply too many long stretches of nothing. There are no shades of grey here either, the tone of this movie is black to the core and if this is more realistic than your CSIs or Law & Orders then it is a depressing reality.

If you do start the film though, hang around to the end, as while it is not a happy movie, it is an effective one.

Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. Nasty, depressing, ugly yet effective. Not the ingredients of a happy movie, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad one either.

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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