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  Feedback They Won't Play That On The Radio
Year: 2019
Director: Pedro C. Alonso
Stars: Eddie Marsan, Paul Anderson, Ivana Baquero, Richard Brake, Oliver Coopersmith, Alexis Rodney, Anthony Head, Alana Boden, Nacho Aldeguer, Stephen Hughes
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Radio presenter Jarvis Dolan (Eddie Marsan) has had quite a time recently, in that he was kidnapped by fascist terrorists and held hostage for his views on Brexit, which has been a hot topic on his show and one he has strong convictions against. But now he is back on air tonight, and his boss (Anthony Head) wants some changes made to the format, chief among them bringing back his old colleague Andrew Wilde (Paul Anderson) who he fell out with after a very successful run a few years ago. The boss believes this reunion will prove a ratings winner, as Andrew is a lot less political in his views, and will change the focus to celebrities...

What none of them are anticipating is that an outside force can seriously derail their plans, since after Dolan agrees to the new terms, albeit reluctantly, it appears the terrorists are making their presence felt once again. Feedback, though it takes place in London, was shot in Spain thanks to the handy application of drone footage of the British capital to top and tail the action, but largely takes place in the hi-tech radio studio, giving it the look of a television play of the nineteen-seventies, only with a sleeker gloss and more gutchurning violence than that era's TV to mark it out as a production planned for the theatrical experience.

Of course, the radio siege plot is one that has occasionally surfaced down the years, from comedy (Airheads, Alan Partrtidge: Alpha Papa) to serious drama (Oliver Stone's Talk Radio), though television has perhaps surprisingly not done too much with it, perhaps preferring not to remind its viewers they could switch off them and turn on the radio instead - even lead presenter characters usually don't spend whole episodes discussing stuff on the air, be they Shoestring or Kit Curran. In this, despite the setting being the studio for the majority of the running time, there were so many distractions that the listeners were not exactly being well catered for.

Feedback - a title that could refer to a technical hitch or those listeners' opinions - was a red herring-filled thriller with horror inflections, such as mashing victims with a sledgehammer or bloodsoaked, messy interludes, eventually it became so caught up in its switcheroos and pulling rugs from under the audience that you may have ended the film unsure of what the set of circumstances that kicked things off may have been. Don't get too caught up in the political aspect: this was another of the red herrings, as it transpires the terrorists are nothing of the sort early on, revealing they are there to secure vengeance, not to silence Dolan or get him to push their own current affairs agenda to the nation.

Or maybe just the capital, it's not too clear how far this broadcast is going out, indeed it's not too clear what the listeners are hearing, though they do leave online comments that suggest they are sceptical any of the nightmare they do catch is anything but a stunt. Not wanting to give too much away, Dolan is initially unsure of what the siege instigators want, or even what their problem is with him, or if it is with him at all, but the masked intruders are handy with their tools of brutality in a manner that suggested director and co-writer Pedro C. Alonso was delivering a message about how not to go about seeking justice if it involves the slaughter of innocents, but also how violence begets more violence as a tit for tat situation develops. It could be an error of judgement that we are not one hundred percent certain on who did what to whom by the end, or it could be that the story got away from Alonso in his drive for thrills, but it was certainly compelling, and very well-acted (including from Ivana Baquero, the little girl from Pan's Labyrinth, with an impeccable American accent). Music by Sergio Moure.

[Signature Entertainment presents Feedback on Amazon Prime Video 26th February 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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