Into the Storm
by George Sax
Sorry, no sharks will be found in Steven Quale’s Into the Storm. Not counting humans, there are no representatives of the animal kingdom in the movie, not even a lost or endangered kitty cat. Plenty of tornado power though, and mammoth destruction in this flick. Actually, with all the inconceivable awesomeness of the natural forces unleashed, there’s surprising little emphasis on human casualties. (But the two that are wracked up are depicted in emphatically dramatic and horrific ways.)
Into the Storm is about the mother of all tornados that attacks a small Oklahoma town with results that are way worse than devastating. The movie employs a digital gimmick to make the experience more immediate and visceral for us, a variation on the found-footage device: a lot of the action is presented as video shot by various characters, starting with the really frightening first scene. This obvious trick isn’t always used with consistency or plausible deniability, but that’s scarcely crucial. This is 1970-style disaster-movie stuff, and it’s also suffused with a B-movie vibe.
The film takes two sets of characters—a father and his two teenaged sons, and a five-person storm-chasing movie crew down on its luck—and, of course, connects their fates. Tension-building plotting ensues, along with a couple of miraculous rescues.
The CGI budget for this one must have exceeded all the movie’s other costs. It’s undeniably effective, for the most part, although at their most spectacular, the results can look a little too neat and comic book-esque. (A less noticed element is Eric Sears’ propulsive editing.)
The cast largely succeeds in acquitting itself with as much dignity and professionalism as is possible, although one youngster, Max Deacon playing the elder son, is impressively and sensitively emotive, considering the broad-brushed circumstances he’s in.
Watch the trailer for Into the Storm
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