Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Betrayed (2008)

Movie quotes:
"Michael Is not meant for this life. Some of us are. Not him, Not you."
- Falco

At a glance:
Tension and twists abound in this highly-charged, low budget captive/torture yarn expertly written and directed by Amanda Gusack

Our review (with spoilers):
Jamie (Melissa George) awakens from a car accident and finds she is lying on the floor of an old warehouse. Her hooded captor Alek (Oded Fehr) says that, unbeknownst to her, her seemingly normal husband Kevin (Christian Campbell) was leading a double life as a hired assassin. Kevin embezzled a large sum of money; Alek has to retrieve it is a few hours or abandon it – not a viable outcome. Alek tasks Jamie to weed through audio surveillance tapes of her home and find the method her double-agent husband was using to send messages to his hidden collaborator. If she can’t find anything in 12 hours, her diabetic son, also a captive, will die. Jamie does not have muscle mass of Lara Croft, so she uses her limitless guile instead. Her time is divided between decoding tapes and using whatever is at her disposal, a la MacGyver, to affect an escape.

Writer/director Amanda Gusack successfully breeds tension from the opening scene. What could have been a mundane investigation of an accident scene becomes something quite edge-of-the-seat. Likewise, Gusack’s POV-style as Jamie scans her environs for items she can use to escape helps to establish the reality of the captivity. George is very good at combining nervous vulnerability with tremendous resolve. It helps, of course, that her character is well written and complex; we’re never sure how much she knows or what she is capable of doing until she does it. And, of course, you never know what the inimitable Alice "Borg Queen" Krige will do.

The Betrayed would be a nifty little light torture thriller on its own, but let’s just say there’s even more intrigue there than you might expect. Whom should Jamie believe? Which answer will save her life? Whom do you believe?

Rating: 3 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"...a gripping, downright suspenseful thriller..."
- David Nusair (Reel Film Reviews)

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