Stars : Jack Lowden, Martin McCann, Tony Curran
Country : United States of America
Language : English
Category : Movies,
A lads’ hunting weekend begins with beers and banter, only to swiftly sober up when two Edinburgh townies wind up shooting entirely the wrong prey. But getting out of the woods isn’t even close to getting in the clear in “Calibre,” a sensationally well-executed nerve-mangler that ought to do for the majestic Scottish Highlands what “Deliverance” did for Appalachia. That is, if smart genre fiends seek out Matt Palmer’s majorly promising debut feature on Netflix — where it’s set to bow globally on June 29, just one week after its home-turf premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival. That’s a mixed blessing for a film that certainly deserves the broad exposure of international streaming, but whose natural habitat is the midnight-movie circuit: Its jackknife shocks, clammy atmospherics and head-filling soundscape would best be enjoyed (or at least endured, at its most palpitating moments) in the immersive darkness of a cinema.
Not that you need a big screen to determine the level of craft and confidence on display in all aspects of “Calibre,” from Palmer’s clean, lean scripting to Márk Györi’s baleful, autumn-chill camerawork to a lead performance of through-the-wringer commitment by rising Scots star Jack Lowden. Bigger assignments await the entire team, though they’d be lucky to get much better ones: For Palmer, whose short horror films have accumulated some festival mileage between them, this should act as an aggressively polished calling card to any prospective producers of taut, tension-led mainstream genre assignments. And while it’s hard to shake thoughts of John Boorman’s aforementioned man-versus-wilderness thriller as the film cranks things up, Palmer draws on what appears to be a broad church of influences, from Walter Hill to the meanest, most streamlined work of Ben Wheatley.