Modest Ben Whishaw stuns in Surge | 25YL

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It’s safe to say that everyone loses their temper in their own way from time to time. The circumstances and results of these moments define their gravity. What triggers them? How far do they go in their actions? What fuels it more or how long does it take to quell the fury? How do they return to their own normality or, worse, can they even restore it on their own without help or intervention?

The answers to these measured questions are what makes Rise, featuring the award-winning Ben Whishaw, so alarming and downright terrifying. Set over just under two days in London and shot in guerrilla style with handheld cameras weaving through crowds and changing locations, Rise runs through one man’s unpredictable downward spiral and the isolated damage he causes. These types of movies are definitely not for everyone, but this one is a fascinating test of endurance and comprehension.

Image courtesy of FilmRise

Anecdotally, the outbursts that reach criminal proportions seem to come from people no one had noticed before. After the events, we always receive these astonished testimonies from neighbors, co-workers and other witnesses who keep saying “I never thought it could have been someone like them”, “They were always so quiet” or “I didn’t think they were capable of something like this. I know we are is not supposed dovecote, but the “calms” need attention.

I can already hear you asking “Wait, that guy?!” Yes, this Ben Whishaw is the ship of Riseit’s heckling. The same wonderful man known to most as the darling voice of Paddington Bear and the brazen gimmick master of James Bond proves he’s more than capable of portraying a different type of character. Whishaw unleashes an unrecognizable, eruptive performance that bites, claws and claws to become one of the best of the year. Mind-blowing talent like this has to be seen to be believed.

Ben Whishaw plays Joseph, a lonely, tired thirtysomething with no clear friends and few outgoing traits. He’s a walking ball of worry, coiled up, with sullen eyes, a drooping head, and an array of uncomfortable contortions. Joseph’s tight joints, loud swallowing, and biting urge count as unsettling, uncontrolled ticks. His antisocial nature hides many of these quirks in public as he works as an unassuming, unassuming airport security guard in London.

No one as tightly wounded as Joseph should have a stress-focused job like this. His fearful nerves and struggles with people don’t mix with the bottleneck of an inconvenient airport emergency and unseen threats, all wrapped up in crude monotony. Buried in this work, the signs of unraveling begin early for Joseph in Rise.

Joseph drinks from a glass
Picture via Twitter

Combine workplace angst with an episode of repeated disappointment from his parents (Ian Gelder and Ellie Haddington) and something inside Joseph breaks more than the glass he chews. Continuous small failures and humiliations assail him, and with rapid disintegration, Joseph’s desperation sends him down a violent and destructive path. As he robs banks, unspoken complaints of civil disobedience escalate to another level of direct peril and, for the character, cathartic rebellion.

Rise embeds kinetic energy in the mechanics of slow cinema. The film is aimless and backed by sound design by Paul Davies (A private war) which amplifies each tap. The story written by short film director Aneil Karia and co-written by Kaleidoscope director Rupert Jones and Deciduous teeth playwright Rita Kalnejais is intentionally aimless and without spoon exposure. We watch voyeuristically to see how far and how long it takes for this cinematic chemical reaction chaos to die down. As a loner with no sidekick or pursuing antagonist, Whishaw is an island of reverberating eccentricity acting on a daring physical performance of exhausting anxiety. The film is focused on him and we dare not look away.

If we shed cobwebs to regain our rooted position, it is because Rise is one of the most shaky cam movies you’ll ever see. In the tremors and wobbles, cinematographer Stuart Bentley (black mirror) and Karia execute huge, uninterrupted takes that stay impressively and thrillingly in Joseph’s face through the obstacles of streets, alleys and storefronts. While very effective for immersion, some scenes are overwhelming, creating an undoubtedly challenging viewing experience.

A wounded Joseph crunches a fruit in the street,

Ben Whishaw won a Special Jury Prize for World Drama Cinema for starring at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, and he earned it with this dramatic departure from his usual roles. His surprising and frantic devotion to this madness deserves the highest consideration for further accolades. As a complete concept of scripted mayhem, the entire film also deserves attention after being nominated for the Sundance Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema category.

The fanciful hands of Hollywood would take a story like Rise and inflate it for success goals. Some macho filmmakers would inject a sociopolitical platform to exasperate prejudice, rack up more absurd heights for a wow factor, and add declaimed monologues whenever he had the chance to appease an actor or actress who took that kind of role by wanting to show off. This kind of embodiment can legitimately energize and inspire an audience, but some of its brilliance would seem superficial. A movie like that would scream how dangerous it perceives itself to be rather than pulsating with real, unwavering volatility.

With that in mind, it’s wonderful to see an independent film throwing caution to the wind with concern for the schedule. It’s an observation of a character that snaps together with little rhyme, reason, or appeal. Sometimes the raw, unvarnished state of a material affects enough that additional or immediate spinning is not necessary. Simply, Rise and his Joseph are most petrifying when you can’t assign labels or explain them with diagnoses. It’s a maddening and fascinating appeal to behold.

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