Film, Drama
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars
Bouncing back from a critical and commercial flop is hard work for the most seasoned of directors; for Jennifer Lynch, it must have been near impossible. Lynch made her first film, ‘Boxing Helena’ (1993), at the age of 24, securing financing and a name cast largely on the strength of her father David’s reputation. It was reviled, and with good reason: it’s a hopeless mish-mash of saccharine romance and psychosexual drivel. That Lynch has now managed to secure funding for a second feature, even 16 years after the fact, is an achievement in itself. That the film in question is pretty good is little short of a miracle.

The set-up craftily echoes her father’s work, as a pair of FBI agents arrive at a small-town sheriff’s station to investigate a multiple murder. They place the bewildered, hostile witnesses under camera surveillance and talk them through the events of the previous day. The story unfolds in flashback, with our sympathies shifting until it’s no longer clear which characters are worth trusting: the cops are corrupt, the investigators sinister, even the cute little girl’s loving family might have something to hide.

Lynch directs with restrained, unfussy style, her camera picking out the clean lines of both the bare interrogation room interiors and the stark rural landscape outside. The cast is solid, particularly dramatic stalwarts Julia Ormond and Bill Pullman as the investigating agents and producer Kent Harper as a power-crazed deviant deputy. So while the narrative is hardly original – it meanders to a predictable but juicily malicious climactic twist – ‘Surveillance’ is never less than a compelling watch.

By: Tom Huddleston



Release details

Release date:
Friday March 6 2009
97 mins

Cast and crew

Jennifer Chambers Lynch
Kent Harper
Kent Harper
Julia Ormond
Bill Pullman
Pell James
Ryan Simpkins
French Stewart
Michael Ironside
Peter Wunstorf
You may also like