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Sunday Streaming:: Citadel (2012)

April 14th, 2013 by unkle lancifer · 5 Comments

CIARON FOY’s CITADEL (2012) is a movie about fear, particularly debilitating fear. ANEURIN BARNARD plays Tommy, a man who witnesses a violent and ultimately fatal attack upon his pregnant wife by hooded youths. The unborn baby survives but Tommy’s perception of the world does not. Everywhere he looks he sees his wife’s attackers and they appear to be multiplying and taking on hideous unnatural forms. He becomes convinced that the suddenly BROOD-esque troll squad want to snatch his baby and he’s terrified that he’ll fail again at protecting his own. Sympathetic nurse Marie (WUNMI MOSAKU) tries her best to pull the movie back into the realm of reality (where Tommy’s suspicions can be attributed to post traumatic stress) but writer/director FOY shoos her away with a lead pipe and we’re left trapped in the world built by Tommy’s psychosis where the only way out (sorry, shotguns, chainsaws and quippy one-liners) is facing his fear head on.

Now this a horror movie. As frustrating as it may be to some viewers, here is a film that is not afraid to delve into feelings of powerlessness and doesn’t let you off the hook with fantasy heroics. It plays out like a nightmare, the kind where you want to move your legs but can’t, the kind where you need to protect something other than yourself and fail, the kind where things don’t always go your way and your best option could be to simply hide and hope you’re not seen. We’re not traveling the pandering pay-off strewn path of mainstream cinema, we’re being lead by the nose through the trenches of mental distress and raging paranoia where frankly, you’re anxiety’s bitch. One of the reasons FOY isn’t tied to selling the old “we can all lift trucks off of babies when we really need to” theory, may be because he himself was the victim of a brutal attack at the age of 18 and suffered the psychological effects first hand. CITADEL isn’t the story of what happened, it’s a purging of what it felt like happened and that’s what makes it so solid and substantial. Through Tommy and HOY’s eyes, buildings come across as giant tombstones, tunnels become crypts, doors resemble glass coffins and dread is omnipresent. I’d put this one up on the shelf next to JACOB’S LADDER and POLANSKI‘s REPULSION and I thank HOY for sharing something that horror fans too often cower from, the true fallout of fear.

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5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ozneNo Gravatar // Apr 14, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    I saw this a few weeks back. Man, the setting was depressing and so was the guy with the baby. I wanted Alex and his droogs to drop in on him and teach him some “ultraviolence” techniques.

    Overall, it’s a decent movie and worth a watch.

  • 2 FilmFatherNo Gravatar // Apr 15, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I too enjoyed Citadel, and as a parent it probably got under my skin more than it would have B.C. (Before Children). However, I thought the third act kinda betrayed the first two, as it went from creepy, atmospheric terror to a haunted-house actioner. Still, I recommend giving it a watch. Read my full review here.

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  • 3 stevil1981No Gravatar // Apr 15, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Ooooh yes! I loved this movie. Told a friend of mine about it and she informed me that she knew Ciaran Foy as she ‘d gone to film school with him, she was sure I’d met him on at least one occasion too. Honestly, I couldn’t remember it but I thought it was cool, small world. Anyway Citadel, great movie.

  • 4 BloodylocksBathoryNo Gravatar // Apr 23, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    I’m gonna break rank here and say that I HATED this movie. But part of it is because I’m biased about a certain subgenre in films: the hoodie horror. This is weird, because I love me some inbred cannibal family films ala Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the like, but… I dunno, I just can’t stand these films involving upstart little punks acting like trash and further perpetuating the chav stereotype. Eden Lake and Ils (They) gave me the same reaction, and even with Attack the Block, I was barely having any sort of sympathy for the leads.
    It’s obviously a matter of personal (lol in my case very personal) taste, but I did like the visuals. Also, I went “noooooo!” when he ditched the stuffed elephant. Also, SPOILER, but did he blow that building up with other helpless abducted wee ones inside? Wow.

  • 5 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Apr 24, 2013 at 12:36 am


    Always good to hear from you! I don’t know, I got the urban anxiety vibe but here in the states we don’t really have the hoodie/chav thing so I didn’t have that reaction.I took it really personal too. I always have dreams were I’m trying to get my cat to a safe place and this movie just felt like one of those dreams except with a baby. This probably sounds crazy but because of that I read it as a dream and it made me think of Gastalt dream interpretation where essentially everybody in the dream is the dreamer.

    So I saw the pregnant wife as him with hope, the infant as him vulnerable after the attack (and the death of hope) the blind kid as him getting stronger but still only seeing fear, the nurse as his rational side and the priest as his rage. The kids inside of the building that he blew up I thought of as mutant versions of himself. It made me think of Alien Resurrection when Ripley finds all those almost-Ripleys and has to torch them. I thought the “brood” kids were just representations of his fear and that was why he could not kill them easily. I may have totally been off base on all that but it made the movie work for me and I still think about it.

    For some reason though I don’t remember the stuffed elephant! Maybe that’s for the best otherwise I will be dreaming of losing a stuffed elephants tonight! 🙂

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