Hey there, I’m Jared. I have 500 movies and shows in my Instant Queue and that’s just way too many. I’m going to slowly work my way through my queue until there’s nothing left, one movie at a time. But, I’m also thinking of you and your unwieldy queue and all the movies you want to watch but no longer have the time to now that you’ve become so awesome and popular. Let me know what has been gathering digital dust in your Netflix Instant library and I’ll watch that too. If it isn’t the worst.
What’s the movie? Citadel (2013)
What’s it rated? Rated R for needles going into pregnant bellies, an incredibly potent sense of claustrophobia and tiny little fuckers in hoodies.
Did people make it? Written and Directed by Ciaran Foy. Acted by Aneurin Barnard, James Cosmo, Wunmi Mosaku, Amy Shiels, Jake Wilson.
What’s it like in one sentence? A fucking intense mash-up of Ils and an inverse version of Attack the Block.
Why did you watch it? Gary Duggan made me do it.
What’s it about in one paragraph? A young man watches helplessly as three kids in hoodies beat his pregnant wife into a coma and stick a dirty hypodermic needle into her belly. She slips into a coma but the child is born healthy. The young man takes care of his infant daughter while battling his newly manifested agoraphobia and his constant fear of dark alleys and small people in hoodies. The young man teams up with a badass priest and a blind child to storm the apartment complex all of the hoodie monsters live in and destroy them once and for all.
Play or remove from my queue? I think this one should be played as soon as you need a creepily effective thriller down your eye gullet. The last 20 minutes manages to be heavily flawed and extremely intense simultaneously which I wasn’t sure was possible, but Ciaran Foy’s assured direction always keeps things moving forward so you can’t think too hard about what you’re seeing.
Welsh actor Aneurin Barnard (a dead ringer for Sam Riley) puts in an incredibly difficult performance by playing someone who is in a constant state of near panic for almost the entire film’s running time. Watching a lead character who is nothing but a bundle of frayed nerves and fear gets exhausting after awhile, but Barnard finds the balance between terror and cowardice and plays it very well. We understand why he’s scared and he has every right to be and his conquering of that fear is the driving theme of the entire film.
James Cosmo’s Priest knows about the feral children in hoodies that come out at night and helps Barnard conquer his fear of them. Cosmo’s performance is great and gruff and quite similar to that of his work on Game of Thrones as The Old Bear and even though his character basically serves as a plot device, he still instills enough humanity in the priest to make it the film’s most memorable character.
I know Citadel has received some criticism because the villains are kids in hoodies based out of Glasgow and places like the US and the UK have been super fucking anti-hoodie of late. I gotta say, at first I was pretty offended about the demonization of the hooded sweatshirt and the sometimes lower on the socio-economic spectrum folk that wear them, but unless we’re looking at this movie like a parable or something, these hooded peoples are totally worthy of fear.
Spoilers to follow:
The hoodied kids are actually the inbred offspring of a brother and sister who have been breeding in the sub-basement of the apartment building for decades. They are definitely mutants and most likely supernatural. These are not a bunch of Trayvon Martin’s or looters or supposed UK chav’s that the film is telling you to fear. They are half human, half mole creatures that literally smell your fear and then poke you and kick you to death.
Without knowing the intention of filmmaker Ciaran Foy, I can’t say whether he is anti-hoodie and attempting to make a statement about hoodie culture or whether he thought faceless children in hoodies looked scary and went with that. I will say that the film does an excellent job creating a fear of the creatures but also is full of empathy for them and doesn’t seem to be saying anything other than blind inbred fear eaters are fucking scary but they won’t hurt you if you say fuck fear and pass right through them. Having just written that sentence I now feel like a statement might buried under some layers here.
I know Foy was brutally beaten in a mugging a few years ago and the film is based in part on his fear of going outside again, but it doesn’t feel like a condemnation of the subgroup. There’s even a character in the film who is always saying how people shouldn’t fear hoodied folk and that it’s wrong to damn people that haven’t done anything. But when she walks up to a group of the mole children to prove they shouldn’t be feared, they beat her to death. But these aren’t the kids from Attack the Block, these are fucking violent crazy inbred mole tykes. I would feel more offended if they were actual humans, but they’re not. They’re monsters and this is a horror movie. Or this movie is super racist. Either way, I liked it.
Aside from a few goofy ideas (like the creatures sensing fear like it’s a fucking midichlorian), the film works like gangbusters. The suspense and intensity never really lets up and the pacing is consistently masterful. The final minute of the film is a bit of a wet fart, but it was always going to be hard to end a film that fucking awesome in a way that would be satisfactory (unless they went for full bleakness). I can heartily recommend the film though and don’t feel like my time would have been better spent doing anything else other than trying to fill the emptiness in my heart. With food.
How’s the Music? The score by tomandandy is perfect. It never relies on making you feel afraid with loud burst of sound. Instead it actually tends to fade away when scary shit is happening which then just leaves you in silence and flop sweat.
What does Netflix say I’d like if I like this? Wake Wood (awful), Hold Your Breath (eh, sounds pretty bad), Kill List (I loved this movie so much), Purification (cool cover) and Haunt (can’t wait to finish).
Do you have an interesting fun-fact? I think it’s pretty amazing that Ciaran Foy used the film as catharsis for his attack. The gang threatened him with dirty needles and didn’t try to stal anything from him, leaving him confused and even more alarmed. I can’t imagine how difficult the filming of this must have been.
What is Netflix’s best guess for Jared? 3.2
What is Jared’s best guess for Jared? 3.5
Any last thoughts? What did you guys think? I didn’t feel like this was a thinly veiled attack against the sub-culture of hooded sweatshirts, but what the hell do I know?
Did you watch anything else this week? I watched nothing. Buried with writing at the moment.
Next Week? Your Call.