Portal is a sci-fi movie with one big idea at its centre and little else to carry it forward. It starts with a string of 911 calls reporting unusual activity and mysterious disappearances, and then moves to a classroom where a group of students become alarmed as they notice something eerie start to happen around them. They soon find a dark, magnet-like portal that gobbles up objects and people if they step too close to it. It transpires that there are several of these “doors” appearing all over the globe, and that an increasing number of people have disappeared into them.
The film is divided into four sections, showing different people’s experiences with the enigmatic doors. What is problematic about this structure is that each segment merely sets the scene and then abruptly casts the characters aside, just as they are about to delve into the thick of the story. Perhaps it would have served the film better to pick one of the scenarios presented and expand on it to give it a middle and an end. Aside from the main premise, which is intriguing but incomplete, everything else is scattered, so the movie neither manages to create a mood nor construct a plot.
There are some interesting leads, such as the possibility of the portal opening up a dimension of the psyche, the idea being that those who enter experience things that challenge and distort established notions of reality via hallucinations and the twisting of what the mind perceives and accepts. Unfortunately, none of the possibilities are explored much, and the purpose of the door phenomenon, as well as the the goal of the film itself, remain unclear. A sense of apocalyptic dread could have added something to the overall tone, but this is never really felt as there is no indication of what normality looked like to any of the characters before the crisis.
Ultimately, Portal comes across as a confused jumble of undeveloped ideas that lead nowhere.
Portal is released digitally on demand on 19th April 2021.
Watch the trailer for Portal here: