Sometimes, the more grounded plot points of a story are better than the sci-fi, as is the case with Radius.
We follow Liam (Diego Klattenhoff), who, after a car crash, wakes up with no memories of who or where he is. Around him, dead bodies are strewn – both humans and animals – and he instantly suspects a virus is transmitting through the air. Reality, he soon discovers, is even stranger: Any person who comes within a fifty feet radius of him falls dead to the ground.
Radius is, in many ways, a very good movie, though its real strength is found in the amnesia storyline. That’s not to say the radius mystery is uninteresting; it works well on its own. When Liam meets a woman – Jane (Charlotte Sullivan), after Jane Doe – who also suffers from amnesia, he finds that people within the radius stay alive as long as she also is present. And as the day progresses and they both regain glimpses of memories, they slowly realize they are connected in one way or other. That is something I found a whole lot more intriguing than the sci-fi.
I’m thinking directors Caroline Labrèche and Steeve Léonard were thinking the same. While the radius comes into place multiple times through the story, it ends up being an afterthought in the grander scheme. The reveal of what happened to cause the anomalies is minor compared to Liam and Jane’s connection, which unveils itself in a compelling manner. This particularly when Jane’s husband enters the picture.
The directors do an admirable job at pushing a fairly simple story forward. It’s a slow burn, but one that is constantly tense, shot in suitably desaturated colors.
So, there’s nothing really wrong with Radius; it’s just that the sci-fi premise is a lot less interesting than the amnesia part. I can’t help but think it would be a better movie if the story was more grounded, which was entirely doable.
Do watch it mind you. Radius is a tense movie that takes some thought-provoking turns.
Radius streams on Amazon’s IMDb TV service, one I don’t entirely understand. It seems weird to make Prime members sit through commercials, particularly ones that are dynamically inserted at the more inopportune points of the movie.
Letterboxd summary: Liam wakes from a car crash with no memory of who he is. As he makes his way into town to look for help, he finds only dead bodies, all with strange pale eyes. Liam's first assessment is that a virus is present in the air, but he soon discovers the horrible truth: anyone who comes within a 50-foot radius of him dies instantly.
Ratings from around the web
|One Star Classics||4/6|