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Confine: The Review

Director: Tobias Tobbell

Cast: Daisy Lowe, Eliza Bennett, Alfie Allen

Plot: A disfigured ex-model (Lowe) locks herself in her flat, away from the world. Her life is torn apart when a career criminal (Bennett) breaks into her home and takes her hostage.

Confine is nowhere nearly as smart as it thinks it is.

The trick with these cheap Independent thrillers is that the lack of budget, action set-pieces and star power means that they need to have a hook in the story to make watching it seem worthwhile. The premise is sharp enough to promise this. We are given a pretty straightforward hostage situation, but the hostage is agoraphobic after a car accident disfigured her, meaning that even if she breaks out of her restraints, she is still essentially trapped in her own house. This is referenced well, when she freaks out over her OCD patterns being disrupted and one of her escape plans being ruined, because she needs to ask her hostage-taker to pass her a paper bag, due to a hyperventilation attack. We don’t mind the fact that we have seen this type of movie hundreds of times before, because that is a fresh enough dynamic to get us through the opening act of the film. Sadly, once the movie settles, we are in desperate need of some clever story developments to get us through the rest of the running time and that is where Confine struggles to keep our attention. About halfway through, we have figured out where every character’s loyalties truly lie and we end up just waiting for the finale, twiddling our thumbs. There is a twist thrown in near the end, but it is forced, makes little sense and almost seems like a mandatory effort of making a hostage thriller. The story starts out nice enough, but it just doesn’t have the strength to make it to the finishing line.

The main problem is the director not being as good as he thinks he is. The atmosphere isn’t strong enough to get us in the right frame of mind to enjoy this thriller. Take the beginning: the career criminal breaks into this house and is hiding from her partners in crime. She doesn’t realise that the model, Pippa, is still in the house, so the first twenty minutes consist of a cat and mouse game, where Pippa hides from this stranger. The tension should have had our hearts beating like frantic. I wanted to be squirming on the edge of my seat. However, it just feels like another story development. The soundtrack doesn’t try to inspire excitement. The editing should have been faster. Being so early on in the film, this lack of directional prowess bodes poorly for the rest of the film. There are other beats that do not work. The dialogue is really unnatural, which is a shame, because the three leads are actually fairly good at what they do, but they are stuck with clunky lines that reel off factoids about the characters rather than get us in the mood to watch a clever British thriller. No matter what direction this story takes, it just isn’t quite good enough.

There are also some stupid moments that bring this whole film crashing down. With these B Movies, I almost wish that I was watching something with a giant crocodile mutant, because at least, when I sit down, I am in the frame of mind to handle the incredible idiocy of the script and story. With small thrillers like Confine, I half expect to be amazed at the slick speed delivered by a low budget, wondering why this film never got so much traction (it really isn’t too popular – half of the Google Images for this thing are from a review written by THE IPC). The stupidest, and easiest to mock, moment is where the career criminal breaks into this house in the first place, directly after a montage where the lead character assured the audience that it was locked up as tight as possible. I assume she broke in, but this was breezed over so easily that you roll your eyes at this direct contradiction in the story. But there are bigger mistakes in this movie than this. I really liked Eliza Bennett’s villain here. She was feisty, ambitious and a bad-ass until the end, even if she seemed to be given the worst lines. However, halfway through the movie, to make the story work, Tobbell makes her become incredibly lenient with Pippa. She is allowed to walk around the house, unrestrained, despite being a hostage. I get that she is too scared to leave the house, but she still messes up Bennett’s plans significantly. I don’t see how we can build up this clever double-crossing villain and then have her do something as stupid, as allow her hostage near the knife rack, so she can make everyone lunch. Face-palm.

Final Verdict: A poor thriller with not much reason to carry on watching past the twenty minute mark. On the bright side, the actors rise above the clunky script.

Two Stars