Following on the heels of Aneil Karia’s short film Beat, which starred Ben Whishaw, Surge sees the British director and actor reunite once again, this time in a feature film. Surge, which recently premiered online at the Glasgow Film Festival, tells the story of an airport security officer. At the beginning of the film, we see Joseph as he deals with baggage checks and frisks passangers—all while remaining seemingly disconnected from his colleagues and surroundings.
Things are not much better at home, where Joseph’s mother constantly bullies and intimidates the young man.
As the film progresses, the loner’s deep discontent begins to emerge and we watch as he succumbs to a mental breakdown. In a moment of frensy, Joseph walks off the job and takes to the streets of London. His aimless wanderigs result in numerous encounters, including with his co-worker and love-interest Lily, and mum and dad. The intensity and mental instability associted with each of these encounters results in a feeling of uncertainty and anticipation—how far is Joseph prepared to take things?
And the violence does come. In a desperate attemp to score five quid to buy an HDMI cable to fix Lily’s TV, Joseph ends up on the wrong side of the law, robbing no less than three banks. At one stage, Joseph decides to rent a posh hotel room with his ill-gained loot. He then proceeds to rip open the mattress before climbing inside it for safety.
Whishaw plays the role with meticulous intensity and absorption. Mostly wordless throughout the film, he expresses himself with grimaces, flinches, ticks, as well as complete blankeness, said a film critic from LateNightStreaming. “Nevertheless, with the script moving from one surreal incident to another at such a furious pace, it is hard for the viewer to establish an emotional connection with Joseph. The visuals are fascinating, however. Something Karia is certainly well-known for.
Whishaw manages to successfully capture the frightening blankness and disconnection that can be a part of our modern exinstance.”
The Glasgow Film Festival is an annual event celebrated in Scotland that has been entertaining film enthusiasts since 2015. In past years, the festival’s audiences have topped 40,000. The 17th edition of the festival, which took place from 24 February to 7 March 2001, offered online screenings (just like the Sundance Film Festival). This year’s event saw 48 UK premieres, 3 European premieres and 8 world premieres.
The festival opened with Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari, a drama about a Korean-American family and closed with Suzanne Lindon’s film Spring Blossom, a coming-of-age story set in Paris.