With an excellent premise, which finds striving artist (and estranged husband and father) Mark quarantined in his apartment complex with other residents and the ever-looming threat of a deadly virus, Containment delivers a brooding sense of tension and terror that keeps the heart-rate pounding and the sweat pouring.
It’s refreshing to say that much is concealed from the audience; nothing is spelled out – no one knows what the virus is, where it comes from, and no one ever actually witnesses what it really does. By the end of the movie, no one even knows how far it’s spread. And this is where Containment‘s greatest asset lies: in its ambiguity. The entire plot isn’t explained to the viewer via tedious exposition; the director knows that a satisfying answer cannot be given to all the questions raised, as has been the problem with many other films with similarly intriguing concepts. Containment cultivates a consistently enigmatic atmosphere, and invokes an eagerness to hurry along each scene, not because the film needs to end, but because it arouses an appetite of anticipation. Even though this appetite may never be completely satiated, the film is still a thrilling experience.
The lead, Mark (Lee Ross), doesn’t immediately grab the viewer as an entirely engrossing character. However, by the end, Mark’s companionship with, and desire to protect, the film’s token child really highlights him to be a compassionate man. He aches to find his own son, though it is not done in the typical over-wrought, melodramatic fashion. Gabriel Senior’s performance as Nicu is pleasantly surprising – despite not saying a single word, he delivers the most heart-wrenching, and arguably best, performance of the movie.
Despite all of this, it feels as though the film is missing another half. Maybe the absence of clarification has clouded good judgement, but Containment is lacking something that would have made the film a complete experience. Though it is sometimes marred by clichéd characters and a shoddy script, the film encourages a burning desire to see more of the world that director Neil Mcenery-West has created. On the other hand, a sequel would do nothing except spoil the mystery. It seems to be one of life’s catch-22s.
Containment is released nationwide on 11th September 2015.
Watch the trailer for Containment here: