By Troy Ribeiro IANS | 3 months ago

Film - "Into The Storm"; Cast - Sarah Wayne Callies, Richard Armitage, Matt Walsh, Nathan Kress, Max Deacon, Alycia Debnam Carey, Arlen Escarpeta, Jeremy Sumpter, Lee Whittaker, Kyle Davis, Jon Reep, Scott Lawrence, Brandon Ruiter and David Drumm; Director - Steven Quale; Rating - ****


What makes "Into The Storm" unique is that it captures nature's fury at its peak and leaves an impact on your mind.

It reminds you of the Gerard Butler-starrer "Chasing Mavericks", but unlike that film, this one is a disaster film portrayed in a semi-documentary, time-capsule style with hand-held camera footage.

There is no story or a plot. The conflict is man against nature. It is the characters' lives which are so well intertwined with nature that makes it a gripping tale.

The film starts off in a very chaotic manner trying to establish the location, the tornado alley in the US and its characters; a set of storm chasers, a few rednecks and the residents of the small town of Silverton.

The storm chasers, in a heavy-duty tanker-like vehicle stacked with weather-monitoring equipment and cameras, are led by Pete (Matt Walsh), who is accompanied by Daryl (Arlen Escarpeta), Jacob (Jeremy Sumpter) and Alison (Sarah Wayne Callies), his experienced weather-watcher.

The narration soon settles down in a hazy manner, with Donnie Fuller and his brother Trey capturing moments on their handy-cam for a time capsule.

The initial scene also establishes their strained relationship with their father, Gary Fuller (Richard Armitage), the vice-principal of Silverton High School.

It is graduation day at the school. The boys are asked to record the Graduation ceremony. But Donnie strays. He goes over to a rural industrial site with Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam Carey), the girl of his dreams, setting a perfect situation for a human interest drama when the weather deteriorates.

The approaching twister creates havoc beyond expectation. But that's not the end of it -- there is something more sinister that keeps you hooked to your seats. It's the visuals of destruction and witnessing human idiosyncrasies that are beyond comparison.

The performances of every character are good with most of them having their moments of calamity and reconciliation. But unfortunately, the character graphs being too sketchy and not in-depth, they don't evoke sympathy. However, there are some breath-choking moments.

The design of the narration is predictable, yet edgy.

With a blend of jerky hand-held visuals and gravity defying scenes, Brian Pearson's cinematography is realistic and convincing. Though the film seems to be of average production value, it is the dexterously crafted computer-generated special effects, that are so life-like which gives you goosebumps and sets your adrenaline soaring.

Also, sound designer Christopher Assells' excellent sound effects elevate the viewing experience.

Director Steven Quale seems to have not taken this subject seriously as the frivolous last scene mars the impact reminding you that there is no story, but what you are experiencing is just a fictional masterpiece.

The film definitely merits a viewing.

(Posted on 08-08-2014)

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