28th Jun2013

‘Confine’ Review

by Mark Allen

Starring: Daisy Lowe, Alfie Allen, Eliza Bennett | Written and Directed by Tobias Tobbell


Okay, let’s start at the beginning for once: Confine is just an awful name for about anything that’s designed to entertain. Is it about confinement, or being confined? Or maybe it’s an order to confine someone? Whatever way you look at it, that verb gave me problems going in that I really didn’t need.

Not that I would have been so pedantic had the movie been any good, mind. The plot’s essentially a mash-up of Panic Room and your bog-standard home invasion thrillers, with Daisy Lowe playing the disfigured, agoraphobic ex-model hostage and Eliza Bennett the psychotic villain.

That description sounds a lot more interesting than the film I saw, as the film relies on bursts of violence and kidnapping tropes rather than delving into its lead’s psychological problems. This is unfortunate – not only because that story’s boring and one we’ve all seen before – but also because it means Bennett’s given most of the dialogue and boy, is she hammy. Given to rolling her eyes and overplaying expressions to the extent that I feel like I’m watching a soap opera and would frankly find being held captive by Louis C.K. more threatening.

Sadly Bennett’s melodrama leaves Lowe very little to do but make half-hearted attempts to escape and whimper all her dialogue until halfway through (a canny producer likely realised that audiences probably wouldn’t sympathise with a protagonist who mumbled her way through the movie) and even less for poor Alfie Allen who’s saddled with a glorified bit part, a grating cockney accent and being subjected to some pretty lackluster torture. Look, he’s Theon Greyjoy, all right? We know he can handle a bit more than having his hand scratched.

I’m alluding to other shows and movies because I’m really searching for anything unique and memorable about Confine (aside from that godawful title. Seriously, no-one brought it up at the test screenings?) but, wasted premise aside, there’s very little. The barely even by-the-numbers-script is chock full of inappropriate melodrama and hacky dialogue and feels like it was a couple of hefty rewrites away from possibly being a decent – perhaps even inspiring – story about a seriously troubled young woman who overcomes her issues and saves the day, but the film seems to miss its own point here too. You would think that in a movie where it’s established that the lead can’t leave her flat under any circumstances that THAT WOULD BE HOW SHE SAVES THE DAY, RIGHT? You know, so she’d have a satisfying character arc and we as an audience might feel that we’d grown with her, yeah?

…No? Just me? Ah, well. Anyway, I guess it there were a couple of interesting shots. The cinematography and the score for the most part were pretty pedestrian fare, and that would be understandable considering the obviously low budget only stretched to one location – a conceit that becomes dull rather than claustrophobic – had the performances and script been anything approaching compelling.

I don’t mean to be a grouch, and as a filmmaker myself I appreciate the days and months of hard work that go into making something like this, but it’s clear that some people needed to work harder than they did in order to make Confine a movie worth watching.

Confine is out on limited release across the UK on July 1st. I’d give  it a miss if I were you.

2 Responses to “‘Confine’ Review”

  • Tom1983

    I don’t think microbudget films have test screenings.

    Btw, Confine is a noun too… like, a confine, a prison.

    Caught this at Raindance Fest – thought Lowe did great for a first lead role.

  • FilmInTheCity13

    I agree with your notes on the fight coordination. Really unconvincing and a little funny too at times.
    I thought the production design and the cinematography were outstanding.
    However, I hated the costumes. I thought the blondes outfit was both ugly and unflattering,
    Daisy’s shoe choice (high heels) was just plain stupid given she walks with the assistance of a cane, and that Daisy’s ‘sister’ looked like a witch.
    I think that this films biggest problem is that it has been a victim of poor casting and a writer who most likely re drafted this script so many times that he didn’t even realise how silly and unconvincing it had all become.