Film Review: Rising Tide – Not Quite A Good Film, But Definitely A Good Effort
By Adam Clery on August 30, 2011 in Film
Despite ‘Keep Your Eyes Open’ being, as we put it, ‘The North-East’s daily arts and culture dispatch’, I’ve not as yet had a chance to review a film that’s sprung up from this, God’s own country. So with Get Carter 2 or a Purely Belter Magaluff special never looking likely to fall my way, I have to say I was delighted to hear that Northern Film and Media had thrust their Alien seed into stomach of the Tyneside Cinema and that Rising Tide, a ‘coming-of-age ghost story’, was about to burst out through its rib-cage and onto its screens.
Produced and Directed by Dawn Furness and Phillip Shotton, the film is set around a group of college leavers who… actually, I’ll let them tell you.
Rising Tide is a sinister story about a group of college leavers embarking on their last adventure together, the film is a coming-of-age ghost story about friendship, loss and revenge. Exams finished and the holidays in full swing, it should have been a memorable last adventure with close friends before going separate ways. It was, but for all the wrong reasons.
As the friends raise a toast ‘to friendship’, Izzy, the newest member of the close-knit group, is hiding a devastating past which follows them to the fateful camping trip to the tidal island of Holy Island, of Lindisfarne.
Ambitious. Horror, or at least modern horror, is a difficult genre to venture into. In fact, I lived with a load of film students during university, and their initial plans to have a final project that would scare the plaque off their lecturers’ teeth was aborted early when they found themselves drowning in a bog of atmospheric cliches and poorly forced tension.
I’m sorry to report then that Rising Tide suffers from most of the same problems. Holy Island, to be fair to it, is actually quite a creepy setting, but if you’ve ever actually been (which 95% of audience members North of Leeds will have) it’s asking a lot to suspend your disbelief sufficiently to stop wondering where the hundreds of tourists are and just think of it as some strange abandoned island.
It’s biggest problem though, is the plot. Even after much dissecting afterwards and affording it considerable “benefit of the doubt”, it didn’t really make much sense. Not quite in a Transformers “why didn’t the Decepticons just buy the glasses off Shia LaBeouf when he put them on eBay” way or even a Shawshank Redemption “how the hell did Tim Robbins put the poster back on the wall when he crawled out through it” way. Without giving away spoilers, the circumstances surrounding the demise of a few characters, and how they ended up in this situation in the first place, made very, very little sense.
Although, since watching it, I haven’t exercised my democratic right to sleep in a tent… so maybe it has got to me on some level.
I feel I should put the star rating at the top of the page into context. Two stars might not, on the face of it, appear all that gleaming a review. Indeed, I do hope that anybody associated with the film has stuck with me this far because I imagine this is the part that will interest you guys the most.
Yes, it’s only two stars. But that’s two stars on the scale we judge every movie we see.
That means we think it’s a star and a half better than Larry Crowne, a film that was written by and starred one of the most influential men in the history of cinema. We also think it’s only a star and a half worse than Super 8, a film with a budget that stretched into the millions and is currently dropping jaws the world-over.
In fact, that’s probably the biggest compliment that I can pay to it. Despite being locally written, sourced, funded, cast, directed and shot, it deserves to be compared to all the other national and international flicks that have appeared in the Tyneside over recent months. It’s certainly not as good, or even as enjoyable as most of them, but it’s done enough to be deserving of sharing their stage. The same can be said for some (sadly not all) of the film’s young cast.
Yes, there are negatives, but there’s more than enough in this film to make it worth seeing. From a cinematic viewpoint it looks gorgeous, the setting, the direction, even things as often overlooked as the framing of shots all stand out. For all the money that’s been spend on advertising for the North-East tourist board, Rising Tide manages to make it look twice as beautiful without having to abuse the footage in post-production to create the illusion of sunshine. It’s bleak, but bracing.
If there’s an overriding feeling about Rising Tide, it’s that it’s all very promising. While everyone involved still appears to be some distance from being the finished article, but I don’t imagine it’ll be the last time their work graces these screens. Bravo, sort of.
- This Is Not A Film – But It Is A Film