The Incident is not a film you’re likely to be familiar with: Odds on you’ve never heard of it before. Starring a young Martin Sheen in his first film role, Larry Peerce’s film is an edgy look at the state of a crumbling society in the US in the late ‘60s which seemed to almost completely slip off the radar.
It’s 1:55 a.m. Joe Ferrone (Tony Musante) and Artie Connors (Martin Sheen) went looking for kicks. They find them going Downtown in the subway where they take a group of people hostage in a compartment. They take turns tormenting and taunting the 15 passengers who include: A bum, a bitterly anti-white black man and his peace-loving wife, a quarrelsome middle-aged Jewish couple, two soldiers and an introverted homosexual. They start off with the bum and rapidly move between the passengers, exposing their weaknesses and fears.
The Incident starts with little story montages building a brief background of the hostages, but we’re thrown in straight into the deep end with the two main protagonists. The sadistic duo reek havoc on the unsuspecting travellers, exposing their lack of courage and shame. It’s a no holes barred in terms of the language and provocation, exposing a fractured and segmented society. Ferrone and Sheen appear to be having great fun whilst Beau Bridges put in an impressive performance as an honest Oklahoma soldier.
It all ends in shame. The shame of not being brave enough to act and looking the other when the spotlight is shone on someone else.
The Incident is released by Simply Media on 12 May