DIRECTOR: Eric Heisserer
CAST: Paul Walker, Genesis Rodriguez, Kerry Cahill, Yohance Myles, Christopher Matthew Cook
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes
PLOTHOLES and inconsistencies aside, this film will garner attention simply because it is one of the last complete offerings we will see containing Walker. The film, released in the US two weeks after his death, marks what could have been a turning point in his career, from action hero guy to maybe something more.
Walker plays young father Nolan Hayes, struggling to keep his newborn daughter alive in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
When the hospital has been evacuated, he remains behind because the baby’s incubator isn’t movable. After the power goes out, Hayes has to crank the battery manually and while his increasingly desperate attempts to stay awake, find supplies and summon help are mildly intriguing, his interaction with the few souls around him are most interesting.
Director Heisserer brings home the desperation and isolation of the people left destitute by the disaster. The once-in-a-lifetime hurricane tests the people and brings out their worst and best characteristics.
Hayes’ life is reduced to this: How is he going to keep his child alive? So essentially this is him at his best in his role as father. Then there are the looters who break into the hospital, and, well, the coolest character turns out to be a rescue dog. Flashbacks as Hayes’ talks to the baby about her mother flesh out the character. His chemistry with Rodriguez (who plays the mom) is believable; his interaction with the looters realistic.
But Walker’s narrating of the story, is melodramatic overkill. It falls apart when he has to externalise his emotion. He is a believable ordinary Joe Blogs, but come on, after several hours he is quite ready for an adrenalin shot, but never really looks exhausted, emotionally or otherwise, or all that desperate. Walker could have used this film to move beyond the Fast and the Furious franchise, but now we’ll never find out what he was truly capable of. So sad, because it turns out he may have been more than just a pretty face.
If you liked Vehicle 19 or Contraband you will like this.