SF, fantasy, horror, mystery website
illustrated SF and general satire
music reviews
action movie heroines
helicopters in movies and TV
VideoVista is published by PIGASUS Press

copyright © 2001 - 2005 VideoVista
August 2005 SITE MAP   SEARCH

cast: Adam Leese, Gil Bellows, Jemma Walker, Kate Buffery, and Tom Hardy

directors: James Erskine, Danny McCullough

86 minutes (15) 2004
widescreen ratio 16:9
Dogwoof DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Alasdair Stuart
It's very easy to do the paranormal badly. After the total dominance of The X-Files in the 1990s, genre cinema is still crammed to the nines with enigmatic men in suits, terrible things kept in abandoned warehouses and people simply disappearing.

E.M.R., superficially, looks like more of the same. Adam is a quiet, reserved young man living in London. Shy, retiring and extremely intelligent Adam is a near recluse, his closest friend being Lilly, an Internet pen pal who lives in San Francisco. Adam's small, regimented world begins to fall apart when he suffers a seizure and wakes up in a hotel room. Accosted by the maid Adam runs out onto the street and finds himself in... San Francisco. As time begins to come unstuck around him Adam finds himself torn between the two places and increasingly incapable of distinguishing reality from fantasy.

This sort of queasy, off-kilter thriller has been done before but not in such an essentially English way before. The naturalistic direction and acting gives the first half hour in particular a real sense of the normal, Adam's interactions with his work mates and Lilly leading to the film playing more like a contemporary drama than a thriller.

When the fantastic elements do come into play they hit all the harder as a result. It's difficult to discuss them without spoiling the film but the first trip in particular has a jagged, desperate feel to it that sets the mood for most of the rest of the film. Adam Leese is excellent as Adam, playing him with a fierce intelligence and determination balanced with a fragility that makes Adam an uneasy but compelling central character. He genuinely looks like a man on the edge and that makes what follows all the more uncertain and as a result, more interesting.

It's largely Leese's film too, with Adam present in almost every scene. However, the supporting cast (including Gil Bellows, recently seen in Pursued) is also impressive, in particular during the film's closing moments. Each one is required to approach their character in a number of different ways and each succeeds, increasing the film's sense of unease still more.

Ultimately, EMR is a genuinely pleasant surprise. It is well written, well acted and a worthy addition to the conspiracy thriller genre. Each piece of the puzzle fits neatly into place and whilst the ending isn't entirely unexpected, it's at least consistent with the rest of the film. Smartly directed, EMR is well worth your time.

Did you find this review helpful? Any comments are always welcome!
Please support VideoVista, buy stuff online using these links - | | Send it | W.H. Smith

copyright © 2001 - 2005 VideoVista