Wednesday, 9 February 2011

REVIEW: Sanctum

Bitches be seriously crappy cave divers, if you take sanctum at its word.

For a film like Sanctum, there's actually very little it needs to get right to at least be an acceptable waste of time. The one dude dies at a time structure is something that seems to intrinsically suited to cinema, that even the shitty ones are enjoyable in a base sense. You know that if the dialogue sucks, the characters are cutouts and the emotional attachments are non-existent, at least you get the satisfaction of watching these fuckers get killed in gory and creative ways. Its kind of a win win. Yet Sanctum's shitness came very, very close to the line designated 'Taking the Piss'.

Both its opening and ending sequences are painfully amateur. The acting, well its almost an affront to the word laughable to call it laughable, most notably Ioan Gruffudd and lead Rhys Wakefield. Gruffudd is not an entirely shit actor, but he really can't do an American accent, and when he tries it just ends up very close to embarrassing. This is no exception, and in fact may be the worst he's ever been or ever will be, coming of hammy and horribly off-key in way too many moments. Not the strongest moment for the former Mr Fantastic. That said, lead Rhys Wakefield somehow manages to be a less charismatic Alex Pettyfer, and anyone who's seen a Pettyfer performance will know that seems like a ridiculous statement, but believe me its valid. Wakefield got this part because of his gym membership and truly nothing else. Its the worst kind of performance as far I'm concerned, bad and bland. If you're gonna be shit, you may as well be Gruffudd shit and at least make an impression. The father-son dynamic is painfully forced and phony, as is just about everything else in this film.

Granted some of the underwater photography is impressive, the mid-section features some moderate to OK survival-horror sequences and there is a good no-frills performance by Richard Roxburgh, who through sheer will of personality makes the shitty words he's saying seem credible. Sanctum is the classic case of what can happen when you make a film with technology in mind, and forget the ultimately you are trying to tell a story. Which inevitably feels like an afterthought, put together in twenty minutes in between underwater stock tests. Sanctum may give me things that I've never seen before and if so, then good for it, but I'm tired of 3D being an excuse to not give a shit about anything else and have that be OK. Sanctum could have been a fun little movie, if only it had invested a modicum more of an effort into its story. Shit doesn't have to be Shakespeare, and you can even lean on archetypes. Just not this half-assed crap.

Rating: 3/10

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