A suspenseful feature offering by stuntman turned director James Mark, CONTROL tells the story of a woman with remarkable telekinetic abilities who is captured and locked into a small room and asked to perform tasks in order to save her kidnapped daughter. That’s enough plot to fill most movies to the brim, but that’s just the first seven minutes of CONTROL.
If you enjoy movies like CUBE, or to a smaller degree, SAW, you might enjoy this sci-fi thriller filled with interesting imagery, cinematography, and acting from the lead Sara Mitich. Certain aspects of this movie feel like a video game, where the main character, Eileen is forced to move a pencil on a table, only for her captors to up the ante and add additional layers of difficulty every time she attempts it. The concept itself has some repeatability but could make the audience check out if it were done differently, but the director keeps our eyes glued to the screen, wondering how she’ll pull off each task, and if she’ll do it before the clock runs out.
Before long a new person is introduced into the cell along with Eileen. Roger, played by George Tchortov, is supposedly Eileen’s husband, though she has no memory of this. There are elements introduced in the film that make you question what is real and what is implanted in Eileen’s mind. There are ethereal scenes that take place with Eileen and her daughter on an idyllic beach. One scene in particular that stands out as a stellar character piece as well as tension ratchet is when the unknown captor has Eileen attempt to put together a dismantled pistol with just her mind powers, all while having an argument with her husband about their past, or what she remembers of it. The acting of both the main characters is spot on, and the dialogue is sharp.
The soundtrack is fine, if not a little videogame-y, but in this movie it’s pretty much forgivable. The art direction is minimal but extremely effective, and for a mostly single location film, each scene doesn’t feel as claustrophobic as it could. Admittedly by the middle of the movie the pacing starts to lag a little, but that’s just when the aforementioned gun scene kicks in and brings a freshness to the plot. The ending is just as effective, and pieces of it are hinted at in the beginning of the movie.
Overall, a quality piece of sci-fi from the director. Kudos to James Mark, who also had a hand in writing the film along with Matthew Nayman. The two really hit it out of the park with CONTROL.