A few years back I attended an Asha Bhosle concert at the Opera House. The minute that the legendary Indian songstress appeared on stage, the auditorium became a sea of raised hands, like submarine periscopes, all clutching phone cameras.
It was the ultimate manifestation of the all-consuming idea – driven largely by social media – that ‘if I haven’t got it on vid, it hasn’t happened’ (and I, I hasten to add, am as guilty as the next person).
The selfie has established itself in movie-making, most successfully with films such as The Blair Witch Project (1999) and Cloverfield (2008), and in this director Steven Quale has collaborated with writer John Swetnam to take it a step further by giving cameras to characters in all three of his storylines.
Pete is a professional storm-chaser and, with his crew, including beautiful Allison the meteorologist (and single mum – hint #1), is hopeful of shooting inside the eye of an approaching tornado.
Trey and little brother Donny are meant to be taping a graduation ceremony at the high school where their widowed dad (hint #2) is deputy principal.
Donk and his mate are wannabe Evel Knievels who haven’t got the common sense to get out of the twister’s path.
Their destinies, of course, are intertwined as Silvertown, Oklahoma, takes a hammering from the most humungous tornado in the history of the universe.
Cliches abound – admittedly, the entire genre is a cliche – and none of the characters is drawn with any great depth, which is not necessarily a weakness for flicks in which familiarity goes hand in glove with the themes of sacrifice, courage and the indomitable human spirit etc.
The CGI is excellent – long shots of the storm trashing barns and powerlines are fab – the scene in which Trey and the sexy undergrad are drowning in an abandoned factory is surprisingly harrowing and the ending is double-brie.
If you’re partial to a good disaster movie, this one is a ball-tearer. Check it out.
~ John Campbell