Gas Attack

Gas Attack


Reviewed by: Trinity

When a flu-like sickness begins to affect inhabitants of a tower block in Glasgow, no one pays much attention. The tower block is home to a number of Turkish Kurd asylum seekers and life is not exactly easy for them. But when one man dies of the mystery virus and more people get ill, including a young girl, people have to take notice. A feisty asylum support worker does some undercover work, whilst a hospital doctor does her best to try and treat the epidemic. Is it flu, tuberculosis, or something more sinister?

Gas Attack has become a talking point recently, after a Kurdish man was murdered and Glasgow City Council met to discuss whether the film should be shown at all. Thankfully, they let it pass, ensuring that people will be able to see another side of the city, and indeed British life.

Copy picture

Through the film, parallels are drawn with the foot-and-mouth crisis and images from recent riots in Bradford used to remind us that the racial tension, which could produce the catastrophic incidents portrayed here, is already present.

Director Kenny Glennan injects a dose of realism into what could have been labelled a disaster movie by finding four non-actors to fill the pivotal central roles. In addition, he uses visual effects, such as security camera footage, to evoke the sensation of being under siege. What is especially telling is the depiction of a bureacracy unable to react, passing the buck and avoiding responsibility.

Gas Attack compares favourably with The Last Resort, which looked at refugees in the south of England, although in overall quality fails to match up. The Last Resort was an excellent dramatic film, while Gas Attack has a psuedo-documentary feel to it, better suited for television. No doubt, this will be the best medium to draw attention to the issues raised, which are the film's strong points.

Although, not without flaws, there is little doubt that this is a powerful piece of drama, which is all too close to real life.

Reviewed on: 24 Aug 2001
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Something unthinkable happens in Glasgow.

Director: Kenny Glennan

Writer: Rowan Joffe

Starring: Sherko Zen-Aloush, Benae hassan, Robina Qureshi, Laurie Ventry, Morag Caulder.

Year: 2001

Runtime: 70 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2001

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