2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An Atmospheric Irish Chiller That Creates A Creepy Mood And Has A Stellar Lead Performance,
This review is from: Citadel (DVD)
There are a lot of really great things going for the low-budget indie shocker "Citadel." This Irish film starts out strong, boasts a solid lead performance, and paints a harrowing portrait of urban decay. While the picture is very successful at creating a creepy vibe which it sustains throughout, I'm not sure that the mythology or storytelling is quite as strong as its atmosphere. In the end, I enjoyed much of the movie without really ever buying into its premise fully. And although the plot threads are deadly serious, I found some of the developments rather amusing as opposed to horrifying. In the end, I think "Citadel" is worth a look but I wanted its payoff and its explanations to be better realized. It's certainly not a bad movie, I just don't think it makes much sense in the grand scheme of things.
As I said, I really invested into the opening of the film. As a young couple is moving from a dilapidated building, a gang of street thugs happens upon the pregnant wife. A seemingly random act of violence will forever change our protagonist's life. Aneurin Barnard plays the husband and father haunted by this day. As he withdrawals from the world, plagued by agoraphobia, he is continuously threatened by hooded kids just like the ones that attacked his family. What do they want? They seem to be fixated on his daughter. But how do you protect your family when you are wracked by fear? As a psychological horror story, "Citadel" is actually quite accomplished. The arrival of the thugs is always spectacularly creepy and quite unpredictable. It makes the entire experience unsettling, which is surely what was intended. However, as the plot deepens, the more explanation that is given to what is happening--the less successful that I felt the story became.
When it was hard to gauge what was reality and what might be the madness, paranoia, and fear of Barnard's character, I thought "Citadel" worked. But as other characters are introduced, including a very unorthodox priest and a blind boy, the tale became much more convoluted. They try to explain the unexplainable, and that's what left me wanting more. And while the finale had some tense moments, this horror story is actually wrapped up pretty simply. As the credits rolled, two friends looked over at me and said "Well, that didn't make much sense!" And truthfully, I had to agree. I do think, however, that the filmmaker had a knack for putting together creepy scenes and that Barnard was fantastic. As Bernard slowly unravels and then picks himself up again, it's a surprisingly deft transformation. I'd would be interested to check out what both Bernard and writer/director Ciaran Foy have in store next. KGHarris, 1/13