As Intervention opens Laura Green (Amber Doig-Thorne, Fanged Up, Override) is waking up confused, scared and unsure of where she is. Eventually, she makes her way to the computer and finds clues as to where and who she is. Laura suffers from a rare form of amnesia that causes her to lose her memories every night when she falls asleep, in the morning she must reintroduce herself to herself.
She wasn’t always like this, it’s the result of an accident some months ago and she’s been trying to put the pieces of her life back together ever since. And while doing her morning memory refreshing she learns that today is her birthday and she has a Zoom call scheduled with several of her friends. Or people who say they’re her friends because she doesn’t remember any of them.
If this reminds you a bit of Memento you’re not alone. Director Samesh Ramjattan and co-writer T D M Flynn certainly seem to be familiar with Nolan’s film and are trying to do a pandemic video call take on it. And therein lies Intervention’s biggest problem. Watching people talk to each other via a computer screen is not particularly exciting.
It can work for an occasional scene in a film, or to work a character or actor into the plot without them being on set, such as Danni Filth’s appearance in Baphomet. But to make it work for an entire film, or as is the case here, most of the film you need some absolutely brilliant writing to make up for the lack of any physical interaction between the characters. Unfortunately, the dialogue in Intervention is average at best and does little to offset the film’s visual blandness.
The basic idea is sound enough. Laura and her friends Olivia (Laura McQuiggin), Carly (Heather Elise Nelson, Hello Au Revoir), Laura (Bibi Lucille, Purgatory, Deadly Perfect), Diana (Jasmine Rachelle) and Sophie (Lucia France, Prowler) go through the notes and clues on her computer and try to jog her memory. Allegedly the last time they did this it produced a real breakthrough, but if it did wouldn’t Laura have marked it important and made sure whatever they discovered was easy to find among her notes?
It’s like an online version of an old British mystery with everyone sitting around the estate’s parlour as Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot analyses their stories. Only this is one person in a dull white room sitting in front of a computer screen with other people sitting in dull white rooms. And the dialogue lacks the incisiveness of Dame Agatha Christie or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The mostly inexperienced cast deserves credit for doing their best with the material. Thanks to that, Intervention does manage to work up some suspense and the odd chill in its second half as the various clues are revealed and it becomes obvious not everyone is being honest about what is going on. But it needed to get to that point a lot faster.
Intervention runs way too long at an hour and forty-five minutes. Given the film’s format, it shouldn’t have been longer than ninety minutes and would have been better at seventy, or even as a forty-five-minute short. There’s just not enough in the script to keep it interesting for that long. It needed to get to the point and into the final act before the pace really began to drag.
There is some video in Intervention’s final minutes but it’s not enough to inject any life into the proceedings, the film is way too deskbound by that point. The footage doesn’t have the intensity that it needed to capture what’s going on in it but it still manages to be the film’s high point. But rather than ending there, the film limps on another few minutes to an absolutely frustrating final scene.
Intervention is available on VOD and Digital platforms from Buffalo 8.