Stars: Billy Clarke, Luke Healy, Joshua Mayes-Cooper, Bernard Hill, Graham Till | Written and Directed by Anthony Woodley
Outpost 11, the first feature film for director Anthony Woodley, is science-fiction, pure and simple, and I went into the feature with little-to-no knowledge of what it was about or what to expect.
The film stars Billy Clarke (Hunger), Luke Healy (The Football Factory), Joshua Mayes-Cooper and, with a small role, Bernard Hill (Lord of the Rings). The cast, though mostly people I wasn’t much aware of prior to seeing this, are all very good and their performances are sturdy. Billy Clarke, who plays Graham, is particularly excellent in his role. Unsympathetic and sometimes just plain contemptible, he is a bizarre character that we discover more about as the film proceeds.
The story is captivating, an alternative past where the World is being run on the power of steam. We follow a small group of soldiers who are positioned at an isolated listening post near the Arctic Circle. Suddenly, a warning light begins to flash and their lives and everything around them begins to deteriorate and fall apart. We follow these men as they struggle against the seclusion and their own minds.
The performances here are all of a good quality, with each character offering a different personality and story of their own to the tale. It’s dark, and the isolated setting makes for some tense moments. Atmospheric with a menacing feel, Outpost 11 is like that feeling of impending doom, a creeping death, a monster hiding under the bed. It’s with these unanswered questions and mysterious possibilities that the film progresses. It’s like David Lynch and Philip K. Dick with a hint of Edgar Allen Poe.
The long moments of silence, where you merely watch the reactions or expressions of the characters, are vibrant in the way they work and give you a look into what these men might be feeling, might be thinking. I couldn’t help but think, at times, that this would work extremely well as a stage play. Its isolated setting and minimal cast allow the story to seam all the more bleak and each of the performances to shine.
Outpost 11 is dark, eerie and unlike anything I’ve seen before. A study of madness and survival through isolation among other things, it is sci-fi story that sticks with you after the credits roll.
Outpost 11 is released on DVD September 30th courtesy of 101 Films.