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Mike Wilder brings you movie reviews. Each week a Selection of reviews for new releases and older films plus movie comparisons.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Review of ATM (2012) by Mike

Title: ATM (2012) (Contains Spoilers)

Original UK Release Date: Unknown

Original US Release Date: 2 March 2012

UK Rating: N/A

US Rating: R

Director: David Brooks

Genre: Horror/Thriller

Plot: Three young co-workers visit an ATM located in a car park. As they turn to leave the building housing the ATM they notice a menacing figure stood watching them. Too scared to leave they watch as the unknown man murders a passerby and returns to wait for them to leave.

Mike's Review
This was another film that I wanted to see after viewing a great trailer for it. Hopefully it would live up to the promise shown.
The film starts by introducing the three main characters. Two men and a woman who work together, David (Brian Geraghty) is crazy about Emily (Alice Eve). When he finds out she is leaving to work in another building he finally asks her out. As they are about to leave together from an after work party his friend and colleague Cory (Josh Peck), convinces David to drop him home via an ATM. There they encounter a mysterious figure that seems to kill any one that comes near without reason. Trapped in the small building housing the ATM they fear they will not survive the night.
I had high hopes for this film, especially after all the great independent films I have viewed lately. The concept was a good one and I was eager to see it.
The actors are very good in this. Brian Geraghty, Alice Eve & Josh Peck are pretty much the only characters in the film. There are many small roles but none of them are really more than walk on parts apart from the unknown person terrorising them, but you never see his face. The three main actors have all had roles in major movies prior to this including Sex and the City 2 and The Hurt Locker. They really do make the film better for having them in it. The direction is very good and the terror the characters feel comes across well.
However that is where the greatness ends. While the story is a good idea, it isn’t grounded in any kind of reality. The story relies on you not questioning too much, but in this kind of film you always will. You will always put yourself in the place of the character and then you begin to see all the flaws in the storyline.
Spoilers ahead
The film relies on the fact that the characters are trapped. But in order to become trapped the story has them park the car about 1000 yards from the small building. This is explained by David parking there to piss his friend Corey off by making him walk to the ATM. It is often pointed out that it is freezing outside so when a few minutes later David has to go and help Corey in the building, there is no reason he wouldn’t drive the car closer. For whatever reason, he has also turned the engine off while they wait. Surely if it was that cold you would leave the engine running with the heater on. Instead he gets out, leaving Emily alone in the car with no heat. She eventually gets bored and probably cold waiting on her own and gets out joining them in the ATM building. This sets up the scene with the mystery man standing waiting for them between the car and the building. A relatively minor point but it is needed to drive the story along. But in the real world it wouldn’t happen. Often the three people are so intent on each other that they don’t keep an eye on the man and this leaves him free to carry out anything he wants to do. The film leads you to believe that he is carrying out a robbery of the ATM machines by breaking into the back of the building. However his reasons for killing everyone he sees are not explained. If you went to so much trouble to plan a complicated break in why complicate things by killing people? Why not set up a makeshift cover over the back of the building where you can work unobstructed? Instead the man tries to smash his way into the building loudly and insight of anyone passing by. He then decided to use a nearby water hose and use it to spray a jet of water into the small building. He somehow manages to quietly and unseen push a car forward and block the door so they can’t leave, then sits and watches as the room fills with water and waits for them to drown. So now he has given up trying to steal the money and is now trying to drown them? I guess by this point I had given up trying to make sense of the film and was just watching in confusion. Naturally when the police finally arrive the mystery man has vanished and they immediately arrest David!
Spoilers end
After seeing this I went online and looked for other people comments on the film. Many of the plot points went completely over their heads. I don’t know if the people watching were only half watching or if the film makers didn’t manage to get across what was going on. But for so many people to not get what was going on has to be due to bad story telling.
Sorry to ramble on so much but this film really frustrated me! The more I think about the story the more it frustrates me. I hate it when film makers seem to think people are stupid and won’t notice when things don’t make sense. When you are making a film, make a film that you would want to see and understand yourself. As a lover of films I hate to see a good film ruined by stupid decisions and incoherent plot lines. This film could have been so much more, especially with the three very talented actors in it. The performances really kept this film from being so much worse than it was. While I’m not sure if any of them are ready to carry a big film yet, they all deserve roles in much better films. This film gets five stars mainly due to the actors work in it.

5 out of 10

Additional Information

Stand out performance: All three main actors.


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