Surge (2020) – Film Review


Been contemplating a returning to the cinema but haven’t pulled the trigger yet because what was missing was a film where Paddington Bear goes full Falling Down? Well, book your ticket now because Surge is the answer to your prayers!

Ben Whishaw plays Joseph, a security guard at an airport, who is one day pushed to his limit. Resulting in a bold and reckless journey of self-liberation set over 24 hours in London.

He won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting at Sundance and it’s easy to see why. Reviews have compared the character to The Joker. Anarchic, dangerous and unpredictable. However, he is probably closer to The Joker’s philosophy that “All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy.” Joseph was arguably dealing with some mental health issues prior to the beginning of the story but here he is pushed passed his breaking point and over the edge.

The hand held cinematography puts the audience right beside him during his journey into darkness. Whishaw is a livewire. A bundle of raw, nervous and dangerous energy. His character’s mood and movements are completely unpredictable and the freedom of the camera allows them to react to and capture the actor’s spontaneity.

In Aneil Karia, it feels like we have found the UK’s answer to The Safdie Brothers. Good Time and Uncut Gems were similarly a constant assault on the senses. Anxiety-inducing watches powered by their lead character’s actions and decisions. Especially the more questionable ones!

Surge is accurately titled because it does emulate a surge of adrenaline and, impressively, manages to keep that momentum going through to the film’s climax. Helped enormously by the pulsating score by Tujiko Noriko.

Fuelled by an incredible performance from Whishaw, this is an unrelenting and exhausting experience. One that grabs a hold of you and forces you to witness the birth of a major new talent in British filmmaking.

Surge is in Cinemas & on Digital from May 28th courtesy of Vertigo Releasing.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Director: Aneil Karia
Stars: Ben Whishaw, Ellie Haddington, Ian Gelder, Jasmine Jobine
Runtime: 105 minutes
Country: UK

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