Saturday, August 09, 2014

"Into the Storm": Imagine "Twister" in mockumentary style, like "Cloverfield"

Into the Storm”, directed by Steven Quale, may recall “Twister” (1996. Jan De Bont), but the film combines comic mockumentary and dogme film, with close-up cameras, managed by high school kids and “professional” storm chasers, with real spectacle and tragedy.  The film was shot in standard aspect rather than full anamorphic, which would have been appropriate.  3-D would have worked for this film.  But the filmmakers wanted a “Cloverfield” effect.
The film is shot in Michigan (part of Detroit’s renaissance) but is set in Oklahoma, in the heart of tornado alley, and it is not OK this time.  The people know the storm is coming. But a high school vice principal (Richard Armitage) tries his best to get the graduation done anyway, and a group of storm trackers, in a military tank, are determined to get footage in the eye of a big tornado, at whatever risk because of monetary promises from a tabloid.  The film shows wall clouds descending and dropping tornadoes, small but violent.  At one time there are up to five funnels, and one of them becomes a firenado after hitting a gas explosion (taking one photographer for a horrible death).  Then the tornadoes merge and become a massive mile-wide F5, with an eye inside. (One of the chasers gets his "near death experience: inside the eye.)  The storm comes through with several rounds in the same area.
Two of the most appealing characters are the principals two sons, Donnie, 17 (Max Deacon), a junior, and Trey, 15 (Nathan Kress), a sophomore.  The principal is a single dad, having been widowed in some sort of tragedy (cancer), and he has raised smart kids.  Donnie does a lot of mockumentary early.  Oddly, he already has chest hair, as of he could get into a bar underage illegally.  He and a girlfriend (Alycia Carey) go to an old mill for a separate video project and will have to be rescued.  Trey sticks closer to dad but  gets drawn into the world of the stormchasers.
The official site is here.  It’s good to see New Line Cinema more active again, this time with Village Roadshow Pictures. The music score by Brian Tyler offered a well-organized concert overture, ending violently, complete with sonata form,, for the closing credits.  
I saw this at the AMC Courthouse in Arlington VA on a Saturday night, before a nearly sold out crowd, in a smaller auditorium. 
Picture: Arbuckle Mountains, Oklahoma, 2011, my image. 

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