Tank 432 (2015) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2016]

tank432A military-trained group wakes up in a forest with no clue how they got there or how to make it out.  They venture to a farm where they find dead bodies and live prisoners.  Taking the latter with them, they head for a field where they find the titular tank and hole themselves up in it.  While looking for a way out of their situation, things go from bad to worse.

Writer/director Nick Gillespie builds a multi-layered mystery for his many characters to evolve in.  The story starts off simply enough with the group waking up in the woods not knowing how they got there or how to get out.  Their positions and relationships are established quickly and they move on with one goal in mind: surviving.  However, the proceedings get over complicated fast with too many characters and too few clear clues as to what is going on.  Once the ending happens, that very last scene, it all makes sense.  As for comes before that, the clues are not very helpful and minimal, this all leads to a frustrating story with developments that are hard to care about.

The cast for these multiple characters is good; they play lost and confused as a team really well.  As the viewers are confused for most of the movie too, it makes sense.  The lead here is Rupert Evans as Reeves and he gives a nice performance amongst the chaos and confusion.  Supporting him and giving good performances as well as Deirdre Mullins as Karlsson and Michael Smiley as Capper who are a part of a top notch cast.  It must be noted that it was nice to see a female character not in need of saving, who is just one of the guys, in a film involving a military-style team and tough guys.

The film may have a confused and confusing storyline, it does not deter from the fact that, besides a few lighting issues that may have been purposeful, it’s very well shot.  Considering director Nick Gillespie has been a cinematographer for years, it had better look good.  Tank 432’s cinematography is by Billy J. Jackson who clearly worked closely with Gillespie to get the film to look just right.  The outdoor scenes are grey and gloomy but beautiful; the scenes in the tank feel cramped and dark.  This adds to the feeling of the film.

Tank 432 aims at being a complex film with layers being pulled back like peeling an onion but it ends up being more confusing than anything else with the layers being pulled unevenly, showing only bits and pieces which leads to the film only making sense at the very end with a reveal that doesn’t fully pay off, robbing the viewer of their satisfaction.  The acting and cinematography are good but not enough to make the film fully interesting.

Fantasia International Film Festival ran from July 14th until August 3rd, 2016 and will be back in the summer of 2017.