• Tank 432

    Released by: Shout! Factory/IFC
    Released on: April 4th, 2017.
    Director: Nick Gillespie
    Cast: Rupert Evans, Steve Garry, Deirdre Mullins
    Year: 2016
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    The Movie:

    Nick Gillespie's TANK 432 represents much of what is wrong with modern horror films today, and specifically the British genre area. Gillespie worked as a cameraman for the talented and esoteric director Ben Wheatley of A FIELD IN ENGLAND fame. But while Wheatley's films radiate intrigue and mystery, coupled with a harsh visual palette and some shocking violence, TANK 432 is just a grim and incoherent slog wth a nonsensical resolution.

    The threadbare plot involves a group of soldiers in an unnamed war at an unnamed time fighting their way through a forest. They have some hooded hostages in tow - referred to by Captain Smith (Gordon Kennedy) as "cargo", and are apparently on the run from the enemy. Another odd twist is that this combat unit has a female soldier named Karlsson (Deidre Mullins). None of the soldiers stand out however, and characterization is so haphazard that it's easy to lose track of who's who. Ostensible star Rupert Evans as Reeves is completely forgettable.

    After about 20 minutes of meandering, the group take refuge in a huge abandoned tank. And that's basically the whole movie. Something goes wrong and everyone is locked in unable to exit the tank except for the medic Gantz (Steve Garry), who was left for dead earlier and is at one point the only hope for escape. There's also a bunch of very confusing plot nonsense salted throughout this unappetizing mess about secret drugs being used by the government and soldiers getting exposed and hallucinating. Or are they?

    Once everyone gets locked in the tank, the film takes a nosedive it never recovers from. The dialog was bad to begin with, but once the bickering starts, it's borderline insufferable. In Scottish accents that require frequent use of subtitles, everyone uses nonstop obscenities in an unimaginative stream of bilge. The introduction of some secret documents located inside the tank brings in an even more confusing element to an already incoherent plot.

    TANK 432 never figures out what it wants to be. Is it a serious and horrific war film? Is it a mystery wrapped up in the trappings of a war movie? This is a purposefully bleak looking film with its overuse of haze and desaturated lighting, but instead of creating grimy realism, it dishes out a serious aura of artificiality.

    This movie is a mess.


    IFC Midnight/Scream Factory's 2.40:1 framed MPEG-4 1080p AVC encoded transfer is of a uniformly high quality on a technical level. This isn't a "pretty" film. It was shot to look as colorless as possible. Aside from a few fleeting images of nature, everything here is caked in mud. It's also worth noting that, especially in the scenes inside the tank, that it looks like digital manipulation was used to make the image appear grittier.
    But the fundamentals - black levels and fine image detail - are solid.

    Audio is covered by a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix and a 2.0 in the same format. While the 5.1 has strong fidelity, the track's balance and soundscape placing choices are a bit weak. Listeners may find themselves straining to hear the dialog at times, a problem further exacerbated by the thick accents and sometimes rapid line deliveries by the actors. I preferred the 2.0 track with its tighter focus.

    The only bonus is a theatrical trailer.

    The Final Word:

    There really isn't anything to recommend this film. While it manages to achieve a certain level of basic professionalism technically, it fails in every other department: storytelling, drama, intrigue. Give it a wide berth.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!