Runtime: 1h 31m
Director: James Watkins
Writer: James Watkins
Stars: Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender, Jack O’Connell
Initial: I remember this movie getting some mention on a few podcasts when it first came out. Didn’t realize it starred Fassbender and Kelly Riley, whom I very much enjoy.
What Did I Think:
There comes a time in everyone’s life when you encounter young people acting in ways you dislike. If you’re currently a young person reading this, that day, believe, will come. Sometimes it’s young people being oblivious or not conscientious (like when kids meander across the soccer field and in our way while my husband and I are working out) and sometimes it’s someone who is an actual psychopath (like the woman who lived next door to us, had parties most nights between 2–5am, and whose boyfriend(?) eventually threatened Eric when he asked them to be quiet).
Eden Lake is based around this concept. What do you do when kids are acting like dumb-asses and might be willing to retaliate if you annoy them back? The situation gets wildly out of control, and, as it does, this goes from being a survival film to a revenge film. This is where James Watkins does his best work. One minute, I’m rooting for Kelly Riley’s Jenny to arm up and fight back. The next, sickened when she does so. Still, there’s an over-the-top quality that makes Eden Lake less effective than, say, a movie like Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners.
So apparently this was a film born out of worry in Britain about youth culture becoming overly violent due to how these kids are being brought up. (British readers, weigh in if needed.) And from what I’ve read about “Broken Britain,” it sounds a bit like conservative propaganda. My biggest problem with Eden Lake is that it takes an extremely dim view of lower middle class people—which make up the entirety of the villains in this story. I’m American and class stuff here isn’t the same, but, man, I don’t know. I’m from a lower class background and I’m tired of lower class characters being dumb and/or violent.