Dir.: Tanel Toom; Cast: Kate Bosworth, Lucien Laviscount, Martin McCann, Thomas Kretschmann; UK 2023, 117 min.
On a beleaguered Earth in the year 2063 this rambling Sci-fi thriller sees four soldiers waiting for their long-overdue relief crew on Sentinel – a remote nuclear-armed military base in the vast sea that separates two remaining continents. As weeks turn into months their patience is tested to the limit, rather like ours in having to endure the overlong running time.
Estonian director Tanel Toom had a great idea to adapt Malachi Smyth’s script about a dystopian future set on the dwindling remnants of dry land. But the story would have worked better as a theatre play given the confined nature of the location.
A storm wreaks havoc in the opening scenes of The Sentinel testing the men’s patience and setting them at loggerheads, willing to die rather than fail in their mission. Thomas Kretschmann plays their stern leader Hendricks. Kate Bosworth steals the show as Cassidy, the lone female trying to forget her past and her, now dead, family. But even she has a job saving a thriller which often feels like an over-talkie, second-hand Sci-fi yarn. Needless to say, she embarks on an affair with one of the men, Sullivan (Laviscount), who is rather an unstable character and wants to leave the ship and get home on the “Aurora”, a boat which shows up on the radar and is nearly sunk by the trigger happy Hendricks, who has a rebellion on his hands when it turns out the vessel is not an viable option. Naturally, it all ends in tears when we discover the truth about the level-headed Cassidy. Mat Ratassepp captures some striking images but the darkness, limited location and restraint of the battleship makes his job hard. An ‘A’ for effort, but rather limp in its execution. AS
Released on digital 24 April 2023