Director: Steven Shainberg
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Chiklis, Kerry Bishé, Peter Stormare, Ari Millen, Lesley Manville, Percy Hynes White
Running Time: 1:42
Release Date: 4/28/17 (limited)
Review by Mark Dujsik | April 27, 2017
The structure of Rupture is a puzzle, set within the confines of a dilapidated building and involving the shady dealings of a shadowy organization. Brian Nelson's screenplay offers tidbits of information throughout, either through the dialogue of the organization's members, the speculation of their hostages, and images of the experiments the former perform upon the latter. A good puzzle should feel like a mystery, and for a while, this one does. It's only later, when the whole picture has been assembled, that we realize it all has been a long tease.
The biggest part of this realization is how the picture comes together. It's related to us directly, through an expository monologue offered to the movie's captured protagonist. The explanation arrives at, perhaps, the right time for such a plot—just around the story's climax, when all of the tension surrounding the buildup needs to be released and when the central point of everything that has happened needs to be revealed.
The content of that monologue, though, is a disappointment for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we've already pieced it together by that point, because there really isn't much to the mystery behind the lengthy obfuscation. Secondly, it feels like the beginning of a story about that central idea. That feeling isn't helped by the fact that Nelson includes an epilogue, which itself is a tease about the consequences of the protagonist's newfound knowledge. Certainly none of it is helped by the fact that the ultimate revelation is a generic conspiracy surrounding a typical science-fiction conceit.
One is left wondering why the movie is so shy about the truth behind its premise, since it pretty much pieces it together for us well before the climax—and especially since it seems at least a bit curious about the repercussions of what's really happening here. What we get, essentially, is a plot that exists to prevent itself from actually telling a story. It's plenty of foreplay that doesn't pay off with the satisfaction of the big event.
The setup is promising, though. Renee (Noomi Rapace) is a single mother living in a suburb of Kansas City with her son Evan (Percy Hynes White). As she goes about her daily routine, director Steven Shainberg inserts a few shots of security camera-type footage capturing Renee and Evan throughout the house. There's also a car stalking the house, and a man places something on the tire of Renee's car.
Evan will be spending the weekend with his father, and Renee has plans to spend the time with her friends. After dropping off the boy, the device blows out the tire, leaving Renee stranded on the side of a mostly deserted road. She's abducted—bound and gagged with electrical tape and chained within the back of a delivery truck. Her destination is a facility that looks like an abandoned hospital, lit in unnatural purple lights. She's restrained to a gurney and left in a locked room, as a bald man (played by Michael Chiklis) and a blonde woman (played Kerry Bishé) go through her medical and personal history, before promising that some tests will follow.
Most of the tension comes from either anticipatory worry or twisted curiosity about those tests. What we learn from another captive is that they involve the greatest fear of the test subject, and Nelson has not so subtly dropped the information that Renee is terrified of spiders (Somehow, the people who have been watching her for who knows how long are unaware of this knowledge until she all but tells them, despite the fact that Renee has an encounter with a spider on the morning of her abduction). This leads to the unfortunate addition of one large and several small spiders of the cheaply computer-generated variety.
The bulk of what passes for the plot, though, concerns Renee's attempts to free herself from her restraints and then find a way out of the facility. It's mostly a walking, crawling, and dodging tour of the place, as she tries to escape and learns additional details about the clandestine group's plan.
There are some demented bits of psychological and physical torture on display along the way. One man has to endure a venomous snake on his body, and in the movie's most diabolical moment, she witnesses a woman suspended upside-down in the air at the top of a tall chamber, which drops without any warning. It's not much, although Nelson has written a protagonist who's more intelligent than usual. Her cleverness is communicated in tiny details, such as the way she waits a few seconds to enter an elevator, just in case someone else is in it. There's some tension here in the obvious question of whether or not she'll be caught (and how she'll deal with the fact that her captors are going to be continuing with their experiments on her), and Shainberg utilizes the long hallways, tight corridors, and sharp corners of the location to good effect.
To give away any information about the plan would be unfair, since the entire movie depends on its eventual revelation. That's the significant problem with Rupture, although the telegraphing and insignificant nature of the final discovery is high on the list, too.
Copyright © 2017 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.
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