Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Invaders (2017) Film Review
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
Jayla (Isra Elsalihie) is being followed. It's late at night and she's alone, but this isn't quite the same far that most female viewers will be familiar with. Jayla is Muslim, her identity made visible by her headscarf, and she's living in an America where that has become very dangerous indeed.
Short and punchy, Mateo Márquez’s short, whic screened at Fantasia 2018, eschews extraneous plot in favour of concentrating on Jayla's fear, on the overwhelming terror that the sense of being hunted can inspire. It doesn't stop when she gets to her door. She knows they're coming for her. Moving upstairs, she looks for somewhere to hide, knowing that it's hopeless. Her house is very ordinary - many viewers will live in similar homes, and may be prompted to consider their own vulnerability should the public mood, for any reason, turn against them.
Elsalihie is good in the central role, conveying not just terror but the sense of despair that comes from knowing there's nowhere to run, something that clearly applies more broadly and not just to her immediate situation. Márquez keeps the camerawork simple, always level with her head, inviting identification. His closeups emphasise the narrow street, the cramped domestic spaces, whilst the fading light of evening suggests the end of something, beyond Jayla's own fate.
What really makes this film effective is its quietness and lack of fuss. There is no room for heroic struggle. It's almost as if the story has already happened and Jayla is a mere footnote. Quietly, economically, Márquez captures small details of her life, hinting at what may be lost.Reviewed on: 26 Jul 2018