The Belko Experiment Film
Can’t remember seeing the trailer
Even with the number of films that I view weekly (this week makes 20 showings), I didn’t see the theatrical trailer in theatres, so finding it on Youtube was a refresher for me, too. The “Red Band” trailer summarized the movie better. Since this review, the movie has been released on DVD, and I purchased a copy.
As I compose this Hub, there was a lot of excitement from MovieAfficienados about this film. It appears that some of the people who work in the film industry are wanting to see this film, due to the OneParagraph and Trailer.
I’m also seeing lots of different film reviews on the Internet (The Guardian and peer film reviewers), so I decided to see this one due to the controversy, if nothing else. Plus, you can’t trust other people’s sources (sorry to have read the interpreted review from The Guardian), so go see the Film. And, decide for yourself.
Here is imdb’s OneParagraph:
In a twisted social experiment, 80 Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogotá, Colombia and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company's intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed.
After reading the OneParagraph, the plot is unknown, but the Hook is there, begging the MovieViewer to see how it plays out.
- Why are there 80 people? Why is the number significant?
- Why are they locked inside the high-rise corporate office?
- What is it about Bogota, Columbia that makes this story occur?
- Obviously a dramatization, otherwise it wouldn’t be made into a Motion Picture, but were these events based on a real incident in Columbia?
- Who is the unknown voice? Why is the voice inviting Americans to participate in the game?
- Who makes it out alive? How do they make it out alive? What are the stakes in the game? If anyone survives, what’s waiting at the end of the game?
All these “Story” questions are answered by the conclusion of the film. More questions arise at the film’s ending.
Why did I elect to see this film?
- Part of it is was the marketing of the film, from the Movie Poster to one of the principal actors, Tony Goldwyn.
- The 10-plex advertised its premiere Thursday evening showing, but when I arrived, the film was not listed on the marquee.
- I was able to then view it at the 16-plex the following morning, on Opening Day.
- I opted not to see Beauty and the Beast, as the animated film was sufficient for me. I did purchase the B&B Popcorn Value Collectible 44oz. cup and Large Popcorn Box! So, Disney movie marketing works.
The feature presentation is thought-provoking, albeit violent in nature, which earned an MPAA “R” rating.
The story explained…
Belko is the company’s name, and from the Opening Sequence, they are a MNC (Multi National Company), doing business in Bogota, Columbia. As shown by the characters, everyone reports for work on a daily basis. Until, their morning routine changes, when the steel doors are activated, locking the American employees inside the corporate installation. The locals were sent home earlier in the day, as observed by our Protagonist.
The Voice announces the rules of the game, whereby the employees are to decide who gets to be killed, and if not done within a timeframe, it will be decided for them. Meanwhile, the air conditioner stops working. Everyone is sweating. Psychologically, this sets not only the employees (but the plot) into motion.
As the performance plays out, the social experiment continues, as each character’s choice decides his/her fate in the game. Plotwise, I’m seeing shades of Ender’s Game, with Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley. I’m also seeing plot elements from Resident Evil film series, most notably RE#1, where everyone is locked underground, trying to get out and up to the surface, and the Umbrella Corporation is the MNC in this series.
A great job on characterization and actor performances, where friends are being killed by other friends, in order for survival. What would you do for/to a friend?
Watching the Scene
There is a memorable scene, if you read between the lines, where Tony Goldwyn’s character must kill one of the Spanish ladies, and even her undressing in front of him is not enough to keep her alive. What makes this scene important, is that up until this point in the film, his character had been using handguns&bullets to kill the employees. With her death, he necksnaps her, while uttering in her ear “Can’t waste the bullets.” Which means that his “married with kids” speech with the other former Special Forces’ employees doesn’t equate to his attraction-affair with the Spanish lady. The power of implied dialogue.
Which makes for an interesting film, because this scene ironically contrasted with a prior scene, where Tony’s character walks into an office scene, involving the Protagonist and Protagonist’s girlfriend kissing, while the blinds are shut.
And he’s the CEO of this installation.
Tony’s portrayal in The Belko Experiment is an extension of his character from The Mechanic, where he and Jason Statham’s characters have a key scene at the airport. If you felt his “Bad Guy” character was cut too short in this film, his performance as Mr. Norris doesn’t disappoint. Costumers seem to dress him appropriately in a grey suit. And he wears it well!
Big Brother done Belko Style
When becoming an employee, the Belko employees sign “everything away.” They also have chips embedded at the base of their necks, which tracks their location. Underlying questions, after the Final Scene:
- Who owns Belko?
- Why are the experiments being conducted? For how long has it been occurring? What is the purpose of the experiments? Ultimately, why are the employees being tracked?
- Is Big Brother really watching us?
- Is there a connection between Big Brother and the Government? Or, is Big Brother the Government? Or, is the Government supplying MNC’s with the field information gathered, while the Government serves as Independent Contractors to the Corporate entity? (Sidenote: see The Accountant for a similarly-themed film)
Violence-wise, The Belko Experiment ranks up there with John Wick Chapter 2, where my local newspaper reported that Wick kills 85 people in the film. (Sidenote: if you go to these movies, and track the body count, I’m not the only one with a problem…)
A Sign o’ the times
As a social film, this theme is a trend seen in other films, such as Logan, where the MNC is Transigen, and involves Mexican experimental laboratories, instead of American corporate buildings located in different countries. Another film is Snowden, with its use of government contractors and employees surveilling citizens worldwide, using Social Networking as one of its sources. A third film is Inferno, where the world is becoming over-populated, and unleashing a worldwide virus who would be “cleansing” the Earth. Which gives you the premise for The Purge film series!
The upcoming film The Circle, seems to have the same “Big Brother is watching you” as its central theme. Doug Liman’s upcoming film American Made, with Tom Cruise, involving the drug running from Columbia into the United States, during the 1980s. John Wick Chapter 2 also shows similar content in its opening montage, where drugs are being distributed by the Italian family.
Speaking of a “Sign o’ the Times,” I was able to attend a live Webinar with Jason Roberts, one of the Assistant Directors, in between this weekend’s regular film viewings (3 so far) and my 2-day Open Checking of Kong: Skull Island (12 more times for Weekend #2). Jason was one of the AD’s for the upcoming film American Made, and a chance to speak live with one of the industry’s AD’s was a special Saturday AM treat! Some of Director Doug Liman’s work includes the first three Bourne films in the 5-film series, ya know, when the fans said “when the Bourne films were good.”
- Jason also has Transformers #5 debuting this summer.
- Directing action movies takes a little scheduling. Making 5 feature films in one year is possible, because the AD is involved in the preProd and Scheduling stages of the film, and once Shooting is done, he moves onto the next film.
I absolutely love attending industry events, as films are becoming a way of storytelling to engaged minds.
Until the next Hub, Pam