Ben Whishaw is one of those actors who has quietly gone about his business, amassing an impressive filmography in a relatively short space of time. Whilst the British actor has starred in big budget films like Spectre, The Lobster, Mary Poppins Returns, and of course providing the voice for Paddington, it’s in smaller releases where he’s made his mark. Most notably in Lilting, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Bright Star and now in the unstoppable Surge.
Joseph (Whishaw) works as a security guard at a London airport. Unbeknownst to his colleagues, he’s slowly drowning under the stresses of the job, pressure from his dysfunctional parents (Ellie Haddington and Ian Gelder) and his lonely and unhappy life. Eventually he just snaps. Has a complete mental breakdown and walks out after causing a scene. Joseph takes off onto the streets of the capital, driven by some unknown force.
Surge is an irrepressible drama, driven by an electrifying performance from Whishaw. Whilst the story itself might be a little on the slight side, Aneil Karia’s film focuses solely on Joseph and his downward spiral into madness. This is not a film for the feint of heart. We’re taken on a manic journey as the camera follows in his wake. At times it feels relentless. Indeed, where Surge is most successful is in transferring the anxiety and anxiousness of its lead onto its viewers.
Surge screens at Glasgow Film Festival.