Right at Your Door
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir-scr Chris Gorak
with Mary McCormack, Rory Cochrane, Tony Perez, Scotty Noyd Jr, Jon Huertas, Max Kasch, Hector Luis Bustamante, Alejandra Flores, Christopher Rocha, Soledad St Hilaire, David Richards, Nina Barry
release UK 8.Sep.06, US 24.Aug.07
06/US Lionsgate 1h36

Let me in: McCormack and Cochrane

mccormack cochrane


Right at Your Door This seriously harrowing terrorism drama has the same unsettling effect as United 93, leaving us in stunned silence at the end. It may be completely fiction, but writer-director Gorak gives it a shockingly realistic tone.

Lexi and Brad (McCormack and Cochrane) have just moved into their Los Angeles house when, on a normal workday morning, a series of dirty bombs explode across the city, separating them. Lexi makes her way home, but has been contaminated by the falling ash; Brad is sealed inside the house with a neighbour's handyman (Perez). And the radio newscasts aren't much help, with reporting that builds panic and confusion to the point that no one knows what to believe or where to turn for help.

Gorak films this is such an intimate, claustrophobic style that we're unable to disengage for even a second. The result is extremely intense--perhaps a bit too much. Although he keeps the focus extremely personal, without sensationalising the events themselves. We only barely see the bombings from a distance, in clever, almost subliminal effects shots. The film is instead finely centred on Lexi and Brad and their individual odysseys.

McCormack and Cochrane are both amazing, giving outrageously raw performances that leave us breathless most of the time. As they are plunged into absolute chaos, we feel their ricocheting emotions and varying desperations. And we experience their worst fears along with them--from full-on terror to deep sadness to flickers of hope. The relentless urgency gets our pulses racing, while the response of the police and military makes our blood boil.

There's a double-edged timeliness here that sends chills down the spine. The atrocity itself is reminiscent of events in Bali, Madrid and London, while the poor official response echoes the situation in New Orleans (although this film was made before Hurricane Katrina struck). In the end, Gorak indulges in a couple of ironic plot points that seem unnecessarily morbid. He's extremely critical of both the authorities and the media. And it progresses, the film feels somewhat repetitive. But the dialog and acting are so honest that it's impossible to look away.

cert 15 strong themes, language, violence 4.Jul.06

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2006 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall