Right at Your Door (15)
Time Out says
Tue Sep 5 2006Everyone knows how much ‘Snakes on a Plane’ benefited from hysterical online anticipation, but its impact also owed something to the liquid-bomb security scare that erupted just before its release; as an account of air-borne terror, it could even play in a double bill with ‘United 93’ (not a suggestion I make fatuously). The timing there was coincidental, but it’s hard not to detect a whiff of exploitation in the release of ‘Right at Your Door’ around the anniversary of 9/11: taking as its high concept the detonation of several dirty bombs in downtown Los Angeles, it sets out to anatomise contemporary attack anxiety, but grows less convincing the longer it goes on.
Debut writer-director Chris Gorak makes a virtue of his limited resources by focusing on one couple, go-getting Lexi (Mary McCormack) – en route to work in the danger zone when catastrophe strikes – and stay-at-home Brad (Rory Cochrane, last seen battling imaginary bugs in ‘A Scanner Darkly’).
Judicious use of faux radio reportage, distant CG smoke and ‘toxic’ ash makes for an eerily affecting vision of calamity at arm’s length drawing near, and the film develops into a compelling chamber piece when official advice conflicts with personal instinct. But if the claustrophobic atmosphere convinces, the script’s descent into personal and institutionalised paranoia is less credible; nor are the characters especially likeable or engaging. Of course, it’s impossible to predict just what reactions to such a situation would be, but what starts out as a horrible, even tragic set-up ends up feeling more like a so-so episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’.
Author: Ben Walters
Fri Sep 8, 2006