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3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 2 November 2011
Retreat has more in common with Death And The Maiden [DVD] [1995]than with either 28 Days or Straw Dogs as dangerously mentioned on the cover. And Retreat is not a film that rewards those that come to it with overly high expectations. Especially expectations involving zombies, pandemics or even much in the way of action. It's a slow build based around the balance of power between the three main characters that cleverly shifts it's goalposts as it goes along and as that - it works well. Jamie Bell's performance grounds the film with a gritty realism it may otherwise have lacked and I have to say - as soon as I got over my dissapointment at seeing only three names in the cast during the credits - I enjoyed it. It does stretch credibility a couple of times but assuming you have no clue as to how the film turns out (I hadn't seen a trailer or read a synopsis - got grabbed by the 28 Days Later reference on the cover - doh) it unfolds enjoyably and not predictably.
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Kate & Martin (Thandie Newton & Cillian Murphy) have returned to Fairweather cottage on Blackholme island in an attempt to rekindle their ailing marriage. Hoping to recapture the romance felt the last time they were there, it's obvious relationships are frayed this time around. When Jack Coleman (Jamie Bell - Billy Elliot) washes up on shore and identifies himself as a soldier, he says that there is a virulent outbreak of Agromoto flu on the mainland that is killing everyone and that the army are quarantining. With no radio or contact with the outside world at the remote cottage, Kate & Martin have no choice but to believe him or risk contracting the disease, but as Jack's behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, just who should they believe?

Retreat is a fantastically filmed experience; the picturesque surrounds of the cottage and the island really drive home the remoteness of the area. As the relationship between the trio changes dynamic, especially given the marital problems of the couple, you are never quite sure who is leading this dance and this is what keeps the tension in place throughout the film. And tense it is, given Jack's odd behaviour and Kate & Martin's distrust of him and the claustrophobic confines of the rural cottage, either Jack is insane or the entire world has gone to pot.

Extras: There is a "making of" featurette, but it's really nothing that special given that the entire thing is set in a cottage.

All in all, well worth a watch, a premise that is supported by solely a trio of actors and will keep you guessing until the end. Recommended!!
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on 16 March 2012
I like Cillian Murphy and I like Jamie Bell - in fact I would rate them amongst my top ten actors around. They are the type of actor who appears in interesting films, and even when they don't they are often the standout in poor films. Therefore, a film that stars both of them as two heads of a virtual Cerberus must be a good thing? Nope, `Retreat' is awful and not only because they have to act alongside Thandie Newton.

The likes of `The Disappearance of Alice Creed' prove that a triple header film is not easy to pull off. You need every actor to be on top form and a script that will involve the viewer enough to distract them from the fact there is little to no budget and only one set. It helps if the set is as gorgeous as the one seen in `Retreat'. Set on a remote Scottish island troubled married couple Martin (Murphy) and Kate (Newton) are marooned trying to piece their relationship together. Maniac squaddie Jack (Bell) soon shows up suggesting that the end of the world is nigh, what would you do?

Personally, if a nutter like Jack turned up at my holiday home unconscious, but with a gun, I would lock the bloke up and call the police. Unfortunately, this is not what happens in `Retreat' and the film descends into a messy what the hell is happening-athon. Martin is so weak and Kate is annoying, they both conspire to drag the plot out when any rational people would build a raft and get off the island. The entire central plot did not work for me, making the cast unbelievable and the story annoying. This has to be down to writer/director Carl Tibbetts who failed to convince me that this situation could happen. A silly film with a strong cast, let down by a poorly formed script.

I watched the BluRay of this film and although the location was lovely, it was not shot to a standard that needed HD. The extras also included a making of.
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on 4 December 2011
"The Retreat" follows the story of a young man and his wife who are going through a bad patch and decide to take a break together to their regular holiday haunt of a remote holiday house, on an island accessible only by boat and in contact with the mainland by sole way of a CB radio set.

Admittedly it's a scenario where something is bound to go wrong (an unresponsive CB and intermittent power problems begin almost immediately), however what isn't expected is the sudden discovery of a man in combat fatigues lying bleeding outside the house one day. Taking him in the couple revive him, and then he has some news which shocks them further: he is from the military and has come to inform them that a plague is sweeping the mainland and killing people instantly. He has to seal up the house with immediate effect to protect the couple from the ravages of the plague and any survivors who may come looking to escape here.

The relationship between the couple and the soldier get more fraught and intense as his military air has him barking orders at them and other elements of his behaviour have them doubting his story. The twists and turns of the dialogue move the viewer from one position to another - is his plague story true or is the truth just as sinister but in a different way?

It's a film that will keep the viewer guessing as stresses reach breaking point in the locked-down house. The ending was particularly good, for which the film gets an extra point from me!
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on 10 October 2011
I loved this film so much. It keeps you gripped throughout and the ending will shock you! Some stunning cinematography (it was filmed in North Wales and some aerial shots from Scotland) stand out performances and a great score. Highly recommended!
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on 20 July 2016
I really liked the first ten minutes of this film, Thandie Newton looks amazing but is, as ever, about as convincing as your average soap star. Cillian Murphy, as always, is utterly believable and completely underused. But the two of them together with marital issues and a deserted island looked like a good premise.

I knew there was a Jamie Bell inbound, but had hoped that the nutter in their midst would spark a sort of relationship Phoenix that saw them overcome their estrangement, (nothing quite like long overdue sex in a room with a body- SOA fans will know what I mean), and get their lives/marriage/love life back on track.

No dice. The whole twisty, turny, nonsense plot meant that it became another 'oh for god's sake' hour and a bit in front of the telly. Good death scene aside, wait for the body (won't say whose) lend a helping hand (or leg) to the person trying to get it out of the wheelbarrow. Had me laughing out loud.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 16 November 2011
This is an indie thriller from director and co-writer Carl Tibbetts and it is billed as a sort of `Twenty Eight Days Later' meets `Straw Dogs', well it really is neither but is still quite good. It is about Kate (Thandie Newton) and Martin (Cillian Murphy) who go to an isolated island in order to repair their fragile relationship after she has lost a baby mid term.

They are the only occupants of this island and the only connection to the mainland is by CB radio to the owners, an elderly couple, who have to come by boat. They try to settle in but the past is all around them and so is the memory of recent events. Then after repeated calls for aid as the generator has, spookily, broken down, they spot a man. He has apparently been washed up on shore and has suffered a head wound. They take him in, he claims to be Private Jack Coleman (Jamie Bell), and he has a story to tell them.

Apparently there has been an outbreak of a new disease which has spread rapidly around the globe. It is an air borne virus to which there is no defence and more importantly no cure. To make it sound more terrifying it has letters and numbers in its name like N31 J42! Their only hope is to lock themselves in and batten down the hatches until the disease burns itself out.

This is a psychological thriller and not a gore fest; it is also not an `end of the world' disaster movie, so claims to have been so are misleading. It is a well acted semi claustrophobic mind battle. All of the performances are well above par and Jamie Bell is particularly interesting as the clearly affected young man. It also boasts a really good score and eight, yes eight executive producers, really guys that is a bit over kill. Still it does have the obligatory twists, but manages to avoid cliché heaven despite a couple of plot holes, that only anoraks (like myself) would spot, or indeed be churlish enough to mention. At an eighty six minute run time, it is perfectly paced and suspenseful enough to keep most entertained, not one to watch twice though as its strengths are the surprises, so makes for an ideal rental.
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on 12 October 2014
I do like Cillian Murphy,BUT ,I don't like this very much..If you want to watch a reasonably predictable movie,with a bit of 'I don't think so'inserted, then this IS for you.Far too predictable,far too early for us--at least ,pad the storyline out a little more.Basically,its the story of a couple,who have had/are having a few marital problems[and who isn't,from time to time?!!!], and retreat to a island,where they have holidayed before.Enter Jamie Bell, and trouble.Well it passed an hour or so on a bad tele night!!!
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on 11 August 2014
I bought this with two others for a weekend DVD marathon and it was the best by far.

Some reviews were negative but I gave the film the benefit of the doubt and am glad I did.

It's not quite the edge of the seat stuff, but it's fast paced with a good story and I wanted to keep watching it - and if you pay attention the ending is obvious but still well executed.
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on 24 March 2014
In a last-ditch attempt to save their failing marriage after the stillbirth of their first child, Kate and Martin escape London for a retreat to the beautiful, yet remote and unpopulated Blackholme Island, which is off the west coast of Scotland.

Their relationship is already fragile and anxieties are pushed higher when they lose all contact with the mainland and after a heavy storm, an injured man is washed up on the shore.

Dressed in military fatigues and carrying a gun, the mysterious stranger regains consciousness and identifies himself as a British soldier called Private Jack Corman.

Soon he reveals that he carries a deadly message - an airborne virus is sweeping Europe and all their lives are under threat unless they take drastic action..

Part paranoia thriller, part Dead Calm, retreat sees the old adage of having 3 prolific actors confined to one set at the start of the second act, and let them rip.

It has mixed results though. The three actors are great in their respective roles, it's just the script is very average, and at times where tension is supposed to be the main attraction, it becomes a little boring.

Bell is the best thing about this. His brooding psycho is unhinged, and we are asking the question numerous times, is the little scamp making it all up? With films like this, of course there is a twist of sorts, or else it wouldn't make any sense, but the way it's handles isn't the best.

Murphy is obviously the weak husband, as hes an architect, so Newton must be the hard woman, as shes been through a small tragedy.

The atmosphere of the film is good, and the third act really does make up for the mundane first two.

The end does smack you round the face, but you really have to work hard to get there.

A bit of a wasted opportunity, but worth it for the performances.
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