Couple lose child.
Couple go on retreat to remote island.
Retreat not help couple.
Stranger wash up on shore.
Stranger have gun.
Stranger say virus killing everyone.
Begin cat-and-mouse game.
What makes "Retreat" work is the performance from Jamie Bell as Jack, who washes up on an island and stumbles his way into the lives of Martin (Cillian Murphy) and Kate (Thandie Newton), a young couple on hiatus on the island to get over their recent miscarriage. Jack says there is a virus that started in South America and is spreading across the globe with a 100% fatality rate. He convinces them that they should board up the house and try to survive. But something doesn't seem right about Jack. His story doesn't seem to make total sense and Kate just has a strange feeling about him. But Martin seems to take him at his word. What results is a tense and unpredictable battle of wits between the three as they try and decipher whether or not Jack is actually telling the truth.
This film is a little "28 Days Later" mixed with a little "Dead Calm" and some "Death and the Maiden" thrown in for added measure. It's a limited ensemble film that relies solely on the credibility and the honesty of the three actors in the film. If you don't believe them - you don't believe the film. Jamie Bell is just fantastic as Jack and knows how to push all the right buttons. Sometimes we believe him. Sometimes we don't. He toes that line between harmless and dangerous and it's that performance that keeps the film on track. Thandie Newton is equally powerful as Kate and she plays the character as tough, no-nonsense and not quick to jump to conclusions. This seems to be the exact opposite of her husband, Martin, who is playing as somewhat weak and naive, to an extent.
It's the claustrophobic nature of the film that keeps us on edge. The idea of being on an island, surrounded by very cold water, unable to leave - that coupled with the idea of the 'possibility' that there is a deadly disease killing every single person you know and love on the outside. That is terrifying. And "Retreat" creates that feeling throughout and never lets up, even at the end. It doesn't take a master of cinema to guess how the film 'could' end. But, by the time it does, you are so thrown off that you wouldn't be surprised at anything. Credit co-writer/director Carl Tibbetts for crafting a highly entertaining thriller that will keep you guessing until there's nothing left to guess.
And here's to a phenomenal performance from Jamie Bell, who has continued to grow as an actor. I still remember him in "Billy Elliot" and he's become so much more as an actor. 9/10.