Title: ‘The Survivalist’
Director: Stephen Fingleton
Cast: Martin McCann, Mia Goth, Olwen Fouere
‘The Survivalist’ belongs to the kind of movies that slowly but relentlessly close their grip on their audience, and don’t let go, even after the credits stop rolling. From a budgetary point of view, this is a small indie film we are talking about: three main actors, one single location, little special effects, no musical score other than the sounds of nature. And still Stephen Fingleton’s feature debut is a true gem, one of the most powerful movies you’ll probably see this year.
The world has gone to shit. The planet’s resources are not enough to sustain the human population. A young lone man survives the global starvation by secluding himself on a small plot of cultivated land hidden in the forest. One day, two women show up at his door, looking for food and shelter.
Now, you’d probably expect for these characters to gradually overcome their mutual mistrust and start working together for a better future, right? I mean, if this was a Hollywood movie, that’s probably what would happen. But this is not a Hollywood blockbuster. Fingleton is not interested in making his characters likable or exemplary. His goal is telling a story about pure survival, the animal instinct to preserve one own’s existence, regardless of moral scruples and emotional attachment. As much as they try to cling to the last remnants of their humanity, pure survival is the only rule these characters obey.
The script masterfully alternates slower moments to tenseful sequences, keeping the viewer on edge and aware of the ever-impending danger. Fingleton’s ability as a director never wavers, he clearly knows what he wants from each scene, from each shot, and he gets it. McCann, Goth and Fouere deserve much more praise for their performances than I can express in a few lines, so I’ll just leave it to that.
Don’t let this masterpiece fly under your radar. You’ll thank me later.