Apart from the clinically insane potholers few of us want to be trapped in a confined space especially the AnyGoodFilms staff who got stuck in a lift with the Editor after the Christmas lunch made all the worse by his penchant for brussel sprouts.
First time director Ben Parker has taken the confined space, which in this case is a mini submarine and compounds it by plonking it at the bottom of the ocean. It’s a well worn path for first time directors to use this type of single set scenario so as to be able to finance their projects easily sometimes to stunning success a la Tarantino’s ‘Reservoir Dogs’ which is essentially a group of men in a warehouse. Here the mini sub is a rickety old chamber being used by a ship in the middle of the North Korean waters and its operator Johannes Kuhnke takes a team of 3 military covert operatives with him only to find that this mission could jeopordise all of their safety and when the units leader Edwards (Charlotte Salt) detonates an underwater explosive it seals their fate as it destroys the chambers electronic equipment rendering them trapped at the bottom of the sea in a chamber with little oxygen and a leak which is letting water in.
Cue the squabbling. Almost inevitably this being the …..ahem….. chamber piece that it is it has the usual stereotypes: the volatile hothead, the intellectual, the everyman, and the obligatory female in an all male cast. So who will survive is not the most difficult task here is to figure out but rather how they might possibly escape and who if any will survive. Luckily for the AGF team the lift door was finally opened relieving us from the Editors noxious fumes but with billions of tonnes of water above them opening the door is not really an option for the crew here.
This is a workmanlike debut by writer / director Ben Parker who emphasises the claustrophobia with close ups of the cast and low angles and it can’t have been an easy shoot for the cast who seem to be constantly doubled over unable to stand in the low ceiling confines of the set. But there are few twists that can’t be predicted here especially the very end which is not the devastating gut punch it’s intended to be. The films main strength is its music score supplied by James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers fame with this his first film score and very good it is too and like Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead whose score for ‘There will be Blood’ shows he has an ear for music that enhances the images. Apart from that The Chamber is a little bit damp.
Here’s the trailer…….