Right At Your Door

Right At Your Door


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

How do you make a disaster movie on a low budget? Stay indoors.

Brad (Rory Cochrane) is an out of work rock musician, married to Lexi (Mary McCormack), who has a job in LA's business district. On this day, after she leaves their new house in the 'burbs and Brad is preparing to chill out, with nothing much to do, he catches breaking news on the radio about bombs going off in the city centre.

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He leaps into the car and drives mindlessly in the direction he thinks his wife took, failing to get any answers on his cell phone. The cops are blockading streets to stop anyone going downtown - "The whole city is a crime scene" - where a pall of grey smoke rises above the skyscrapers. Brad witnesses a driver being shot at a checkpoint. Panic has already set in.

He retreats back home, despite a punctured front tyre - do American cars have heal thyself inner tubes? - and listens to the radio. Apparently the bombs were chemical and the air is filled with toxic ash. Everyone is advised to stay in their houses, close all apertures, tape doors and windows, and wait for the medical teams to arrive.

This opening is well handled by writer/director Chris Gorak, creating a mood of fear, chaos and uncertainty. By staying close on Brad, he avoids the expense of choreographing long shots of a city in flames and 1,000 extras rushing about like the defeated armies of the insane.

Once Lexi returns, frantic, sick and coughing her guts out, the movie commits ritual suicide. Having established Brad as a desperate husband at his wits' end about the safety of his beloved wife, when she turns up he won't let her in because the man on the radio says it's too dangerous. And so she is left outside in the poisoned air to plead with him through barriers of taped cellophane. Suddenly, Brad is seen as selfish, cruel and incredibly stupid, and all sympathy for him leaches away.

Having reached an impasse, with Brad protecting himself indoors and Lexi dying outside, they wait and wait until scary people in protective gear, which makes them look like Darth Vader, appear out of the gloom - the film is shot in faux monochrome - with ridiculously sophisticated equipment that in real life would have taken months to assemble.

Cochrane, better known as the laid back, gloomy one from the early series of CSI: Miami, conveys the anguish of a solitary man, confronted with an impossible dilemma, extremely well, while McCormack can do little but scream, weep, cough, spit and look frightened in an alluring way.

If this is how the war on terror is lost, you might die of exasperation trying to stay alive.

Reviewed on: 12 Sep 2006
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Trapped indoors after chemical bombs explode in downtown Los Angeles.
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Director: Chris Gorak

Writer: Chris Gorak

Starring: Mary McCormack, Rory Cochrane, Tony Perez, Scotty Noyd jr, Max Kasch, Jon Huertas

Year: 2006

Runtime: 96 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


Sundance 2006

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