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Man Down


Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Kate Mara, Gary Oldman, Jai Courtney

Director: Dito Montiel

If you're looking for a pick-me-up, this is the last film you want to see. A real downer on the subject of post-traumatic stress disorder, it is also slow, torpid and dully photographed as it splits its narrative into three timelines.

LaBeouf mumbles his way through the central role as a Marine whom we see with his wife (Mara) and son (Charlie Shotwell) in happier times, his tough training, then a sickening 'event' in Afghanistan, which leads to his interrogation by a military counsellor (Oldman). At the same time, the film flashes forwards to our Marine wandering through a dystopian, ruined America with his longtime friend (Courtney), looking for his missing son.

It's hard at this juncture to discern what is real and what's going on in the Marine's disturbed brain, but the film fails to make us care enough as it crawls towards a violent climax, but switching timelines ever more frequently, breaking up potential suspense.

Dialogue throughout is difficult to hear, although that's probably not as much of a minus factor as it might be in another film. All in all, though, a missed opportunity.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Signature. Kyotocolor.
87 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 30 Mar 2017