The Signal


Reviewed by: Max Crawford

Brenton Thwaites and Olivia Cooke in The Signal
"The film gaily sets about asking a number of questions it has no intention of answering." | Photo: Focus Features

The Signal tells the story of Twentysomething Male Protagonist, whose shortcut into having some character is provided by a nondescript disability which requires that he walk with crutches. Along with fellow MIT students Dudebro Sidekick and Irrelevance McLoveinterest, TMP is indulging in one of those thousand-mile roadtrips that Americans seem to think nothing of undertaking. When the party decides to divert a mere couple of hundred miles to go and noise up a hacker who's been giving them grief, things take a turn for the weird.

Separated from his friends, TMP awakens in what appears to be some sort of underground government facility. He no longer has use of his legs, and is wheeled through a series of sterile, labyrinthine corridors to confront Sinister Antagonist Lawrence Fishburne.

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Fishburne takes evident delight in the role, and Brenton Thwaites brings a degree of charisma to his portrayal of TMP that the character doesn't really deserve. The sparring between the two is mildly diverting, but where The Signal really begins to show promise is after TMP makes his bid for freedom. There are shades of District 9 meets Dark City as the film gaily sets about asking a number of questions it has no intention of answering. A series of Lynchian vignettes adds some much needed spice, with several minor characters getting more to do in their five-minute turns than Irrelevance McLoveinterest manages in the duration of the feature.

If you're expecting The Signal to be some sort of intricate puzzle with a clever solution, you're likely to be disappointed. The ending resembles nothing so much as a succession of rug-pulls, and while it's not particularly difficult to follow what happens, it's practically impossible to say why.

Reviewed on: 22 Feb 2015
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Three college students disappear under mysterious circumstances while tracking a computer hacker through the Southwest.
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Director: William Eubank

Writer: Carlyle Eubank, William Eubank, William Eubank, William Eubank, David Frigerio, David Frigerio, David Frigerio

Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Laurence Fishburne, Sarah Clarke, Lin Shaye, Olivia Cooke, Beau Knapp, Robert Longstreet, Jeffrey Grover

Year: 2014

Runtime: 95 minutes

Country: US

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