Netflix's Calibre Review

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Shallow Grave

by Casimir Harlow Jun 30, 2018 at 11:11 AM

  • Movies review


    Netflix's Calibre Review

    Best Picture at the Edinburgh Film Festival, Netflix secures a gem of a thriller with this taut directorial debut.

    The writer/director debut of Matt Palmer already wowed audiences at the Edinburgh Film Festival, winning Best British Picture, and leaving it something of a catch for streaming service Netflix to pick up.

    A taut thriller somewhat reminiscent of the likes of '71 and Eden Lake, the premise has a couple of best friends take a trip up to the Scottish Highlands for some deer hunting only to end up in a world of pain. After a tragic accident, and messy cover-up, the two are desperate to escape the isolated territory, finding themselves boxed-in at every stage by angry locals who haven't even fully realised what they should be angry at the two for.

    Extremely taut and efficient.

    Some nine years in the making, Palmer's indie thriller is a stylish piece that uses the nice locations and otherwise minimalist design to belie the clearly limited budget.

    It's extremely taut and efficient, with no fat whatsoever, playing carefully on unexpected narrative twists and turns that keep the lead duo tied up in the increasingly murky quagmire they find themselves in.

    Perhaps even more interesting, beyond the tense setting, it the moral quagmire that the duo also find themselves in, and that audiences will also appreciate. The premise is dark, and the lead characters put us in an impossible position with their decisions.

    Whilst the events that unfold are believable - maybe even understandable - the route it goes down is so relentless and devastating, it's almost a horror movie in nature (much like the aforementioned other films it thematically unfolds like) and it'll leave your nerves shredded, with the bitter taste of blood in your mouth.

    It'll leave your nerves shredded.

    Although the lead actors are little-known (Jack Lowden, who was also in '71 coincidentally, as well as Dunkirk; and Martin McCann from The Pacific) but fabulously chosen for the roles, with the Scots locals headed up by enjoyable character actor Tony Curran (Blade II, Underworld: Evolution) who attempts to control the angry mob keen on tearing apart the outsiders.

    Reminding us of the work of another upcoming director, Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin, Green Room), not to mention '71's Yann Demange, expect impressive things from Matt Palmer in the future, if this is what he can deliver with so little.

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