Surge: Film Review


Courtesy of Vertigo Releasing

I love Ben Whishaw for all his performances – in film, on the stage and as the voice of Paddington – and while he’s excellent in Surge, it’s a super stressful film that I didn’t enjoy much at all.

Whishaw plays Joseph, who is trapped in a soulless job, carrying out security checks at Stansted Airport, and lives a life devoid of emotion, meaning and connection. One day, after an act of rebellion, he breaks free from the shackles that inhabited him and goes on a wild, reckless and impulsive journey through London, robbing banks, destroying property, and having casual sex, and finally finds out what it feels like to be alive.

Surge is an intense, stressful watch on the same level as Uncut Gems – it’s got that same chaotic and frenetic energy and the camerawork has to be very dynamic to keep up with Joseph darting about all over the place making very very bad decisions. Once he has a taste of rebellious life and gets away with it, he is pumped up on adrenaline and makes speedy decisions on a whim and we basically just follow him, observing what he gets up to with his newfound “no f**ks given” attitude.

Whishaw is always fantastic as tortured soul-type characters but we’ve never seen him quite like this before. This transformative role must have been exhausting and Whishaw throws himself into the energy of it completely, nailing his portrayal of someone who could very possibly be having a mental breakdown. I never thought I would dislike any character played by Whishaw, but Joseph becomes the absolute worst, a vile human being without consideration for anybody.

Surge, the first feature film by Aneil Karia, is not for me. I know you don’t have to like characters to enjoy a film but Joseph is so awful, I hated him and didn’t want to find out what he’d do next.

Available in cinemas and on digital platforms from Friday 28th May

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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