Quite Nice Pictures
January 20th, 2012
Release length: 1:24:00
Much like today’s marketing is guilty of, Elevator claims to be a film where “Racism collides with corporate greed … and one of them has a bomb” (quoted from IMDB), as well as a film selling trapped people who must rationalize with someone carrying a bomb. The problem is that a lot of this is quite untrue. This film does have some racism, but only from the claustrophobic comedian George Axelrod (Joey Slotnick) making 9/11-related remarks at the security guard, and a building owner who sold some bad stock. Other than that you have the reveal of some adultery from one of the couples, a pregnant woman urinating in the corner and the undramatic reveal of the aforementioned explosive. In fact, the drama is so downplayed it seems like no one really cares about anything but bickering amongst one another, and random attempts to escape.
While most characters present themselves with first-world problems and general douchebaggery, the real villain ends up not being the person with the bomb, but rather the daughter of the building’s owner Henry Barton (John Getz). This whole situation is caused by Madelin Barton (played by both Amanda and Rachel Pace) and her desire to torture George due to his fear of enclosed places. By stopping the elevator, it gets locked between floors and trapping everyone. During an escape attempt she starts hammering away at the floor buttons, which only makes the bad situation even worse. By the end you’ll be wishing they leave girl with behind if they happen to escape.
There’s no tension either. Everything is just played unnaturally calm. Even the bombmaker himself (Michael Mercurio) ends up going on the news to explain what happened and tell you how much time the group has left. Even when there’s little left, they are able to keep up with the news, as well as are reminded that help is on the way or almost there. The only time the events actually show some tension and become realistic is when everyone decides to try to get the bomb off the corpse and drop it down the elevator shaft, which, in real life would be the next move after realizing there’s no way out.
Not only do you have such a tame story, but also bland acting all around. The only memorable character really ends up being George Axelrod, and of course Madeline Barton who you just want to strangle almost immediately. There’s also Devin Ratray (Home Alone) who is basically a useless character existing only to fill the role of the fat person on the elevator who poses a problem to the rescue operation. Thankfully most of the characters have a decent enough chemistry with one another that is somewhat entertaining to watch.
Other than a few scenes of the elevator occupants getting ready, the ending scene and random news footage, a good ninety-five percent of the film is shot in the elevator. Even the opening scene with everyone getting into it which eats up much more time than it ever really should have. Sure, staying with the cast is necessary for this sort of movie, but there could have been a little more character development outside of that setting instead of basically forcing it all in the same four walls, if not for the sake of additional talking points that could lead to some additional deception among everyone.
Elevator could have been a tense psychological Thriller, pitting twelve people against one crazed bomber with nothing left to lose. Instead it’s simply a bunch of people afraid to get their hands dirty until there’s no other option because a spoiled little girl was bored on an elevator, not to mention some obvious stereotypical class diversity that may have been unintentional and is still rather boring to watch. But when the film needs to be gritty it gets the job done, though only for a brief amount of time. The payoff is the most obvious of conclusions and a sacrifice that really makes no sense in its apparent necessity, and played off more as a grandiose delusion. If you feel the need to watch Elevator, you won’t really find yourself struggling to sit through it, but there are just no surprises in this paint-by-numbers flick that you can just as easily pass up for many other films about being trapped in an elevator.
|Overall Score: 4/10