When it comes time to do the inevitable year end top ten film list that no anal retentive movie fan can resist, 2014 will be a year in which British film is riding high and holding its own against the very best of international cinema. So with that in mind, here’s a reminder of how bad we can be…
Directed by Asham Kamboj.
Starring Danny Dyer, Jimi Mistry, Kierston Wareing, Emily Beecham, Lois Winstone.
Four anti war protestors (Dyer, Wareing, Beecham and Winstone) and one designated driver (Mistry) are traveling back from a protest and stop for a loo break in the woods. Pru (Beecham) takes Sarah (Wareing) on a five-mile hike searching for a bush to pee behind (it might be a forest but she’s choosy). This gives Derek (Mistry) a chance to hit on Saffron (Winstone). They wander off for some hanky panky. How long does he think girlfriend Pru is going to be?
Gary (Dyer) regroups with Pru and Sarah (Wareing) and they find Derek’s jacket next to an ominous looking hatch in the ground. Obviously they decide to take a look inside, rather than check back at the car. Pretty much immediately they find themselves trapped inside as the hatch is mysteriously locked behind them.
They wander around…
…and wander around…
…and wander around.
Occasionally something dramatic will happen, like, um a red light will blink mysteriously when no one is looking, or some one will get startled by their own reflection in a mirror (these are suspense highlights). Then they wander around some more.
It’s mesmerically boring; the actresses appear listless when they are supposed to be terrified. Dyer is hopelessly miscast as a student war protestor and appears to be in an insulin induced coma, only occasionally waking up to shout “Oi” and “fakk off” before falling back asleep. But Dyer is utterly outshone in the bad acting stakes by former EASTENDERS and THE GURU actor Mistry who delivers one of the most rotten performances I’ve seen on screen this year. I think Mistry’s city banker character is supposed to be edgy, but it comes across more like a third rate Tony Hadley impersonation. At one point he gets a bit fresh with one of the female characters who then knees him in the groin. “No one kicks me in the bollocks and gets away with it” he roars, looking like he’s gearing up for a performance Musclebound backstage at Top of the Pops.
Slowly – and I mean slooooowly – it becomes apparent that something is in the tunnel (there is only one, no amount of set dressing can hide the fact). The audience is given a heads up on this by endless repeated shots from behind people with a solarized green tint.
Suddenly as if out of nowhere there is a random unmotivated flashback, could this hold the key to the mystery? ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Even at 74 minutes long this is excruciating torture on the audience. The plot rampages forward like an angry gastropod glued to a plank, finally reaching a shock twist ending that is both obvious and completely baffling. 50% of the dialogue is just characters saying other character’s names. Like this:
“Saffron”, “Derek”, “Saffron”, “Derek”, “SAFFRON”, “DEREK”… “Gary?”
I’ve spiced it up a little there, but you get the drift.
And it is technically incompetent too. The whole film is so underlit that it is practically impossible to see what is going on. It’s like watching a film through a dirty fish tank. Can this really be getting a Blu-Ray release?
Easily among the worst films of 2010, Basement is like some sort of ghastly am-dram horror take on Samuel Beckett, only it’s the audience waiting in vain for something, anything, to happen.