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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Review: Feedback

Director: Pedro C. Alonso
Screenplay: Pedro C. Alonso and Alberto Marini
Year: 2020

The host of a radio show about politics and social issues is held hostage in his studio by a couple of violent men. From the start, it seems like he’s being held hostage is related to the controversial content on his show, but this is not the case. As the two men start giving orders to the host the reason why they are doing that starts revealing itself and has little to do with his program.

The opening scenes of “Feedback” establish the environment around Jarvis Dolan, emphasizing the problems he has had because of his expressions and standings in his radio program. During the first minutes, we get to know that Jarvis was just recently kidnapped and beaten because of some expressions he did in a show, but that he is not willing to be intimidated, exposing his great moral sense and social compromise. All this will be put to the test once his studio is held hostage and he is forced to reveal some truths in his program. 

Once the hijackers take the studio and start they start interacting, the great work in the acting from the main cast pops out, composed of Eddie Marsan (“The World’s End”), Ivana Baquero (“Pan’s Labyrinth”), Richard Brake (“Perfect Skin”), and Oliver Coopersmith (“iBoy”). The dynamics between them gives way to its best attributes, that is the intensity with which all events unfold. That all takes place in a radio studio gives it a claustrophobic feel and intimacy that along with the exceptional interpretations and the great script from the also director Pedro C, Alonso in his debut together with Alberto Marini (“[Rec]” (producer)) captures the viewer through the whole development to the confusing outcome.  The fact that all the development is kept in a single location with just a few characters doesn’t avoid that a good dose of violence and gore is offered, which is explicit or suggestive enough to make the scenes uncomfortably realistic.

A movie with a controversial radio host as the main character is expected to have plenty of social and political commentary. “Feedback” echoes the political and social problems that are being lived in Europe and other parts of the world with the known Brexit, political agendas, and the #MeToo movement. The only problem with these commentaries is that most of them don’t have much relevance in the development and outcome and besides defining the controversial personality of Jarvis, they have little purpose. 

As I approach the area of the movie flaws, it’s worth mentioning the most important of them, that is how predictable it can be. In general, the plot has a good structure and rhythm but every twist can be seen coming from far away and when they happen they don’t carry the expected impact. However, its predictability doesn’t affect its intensity, although if it were more surprising, it would have contributed more to this that is it’s best attribute. Another problem is that, even when it’s established at the beginning that it’s a late-night radio show, it seems unrealistic that these people could have gone unnoticed into this place carrying weapons and that nobody noticed the chaos that took place in the studio. 

“Feedback” uses the home invasion subgenre and gives it a new twist, setting it in a radio studio, but without losing the intensity that defines these sorts of movies. Its intensity and the acting quality are its best elements, which are supported by the twists the story offers, somewhat hindered by how predictable they are and an open ending that is confusing. “Feedback” offers an intriguing story, emphasizing on the moral and hypocrisy, to keep you on the edge of your seat from the first to the last minute.

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