'Into the Storm' spent all its money on effects, not emotions
“Into the Storm” is as close to a real tornado as most of us would ever want to get. Its effects are so spectacular that it makes “Twister” look like “The Wizard of Oz.” You wonder, as immersive as all those objects flying off the screen are, why they didn't film it in 3D. Secretly, you're grateful they didn't.
But as impressive as the effects can be, as effective as the blend of TV-news-helicopter POV shots, security-camera footage, cellphone video and storm-chaser images mimicked here turn out, the human stories are given short shrift in this “spend our budget on effects” action picture.
Late in the season, “Tornado Alley” storm chaser Pete (Matt Walsh) hasn't scored the money shot. He's a freelancer with the backing to get the image nobody else has — the “eye” of the tornado, shots from inside the vortex. He's got a hired-gun meteorologist, Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies); Titus, a veritable tank of a chase vehicle; some young videographers; and backers about to pull the plug on this venture if he doesn't produce.
That last big system whipping across Oklahoma is their chance. Everybody else is headed toward one town, but Allison insists the real action will be in Silverton.
It's graduation day at Silverton High, and widowed Vice Principal Gary (Richard Armitage) is hoping they can hold the ceremony outdoors and that his rebellious sons — Donnie and Trey (Max Deacon, Nathan Kress) — will video it, along with scores of testimonials for a video time capsule.
The twister hits, and we're sucked into that school with it. But the realism of this gripping school-under-assault scene isn't the first grabber moment. That comes in the opening credits — teens caught in a car, obsessed with cellphone recording the tornado that swooped down on them the previous night.
If “Into the Storm” has a theme, it's that. We've become a nation of gawkers, cultists forever holding our phones up to whatever dangerous, tragic or comic disaster is unfolding in front of us.
There's a reason movies are cast with movie stars, and this film makes you appreciate that — with performances that lack urgency, panic or even awe. Movie stars have not just acting chops and screen presence, but that ineffable spark that creates instant empathy.
Director Steven Quale (“Final Destination 5”) never gives his cast of unknowns the chance to achieve that empathy except late in the picture. That's also, belatedly, when a ticking clock kicks in and we start to fear for characters' lives.
Roger Moore reviews movies for McClatchy News Service.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 5-year-old boy needed for ‘Let It Snow’ role
- ‘Black or White’ leaves Kevin Costner spent — emotionally and financially
- Review: Stylish whodunit ‘The Loft’ doesn’t reach narrative heights
- Review: ‘Black or White’ finds dramatic promise in the grey areas of American race relations
- ‘Let It Snow’ filming in Millvale
- DVD reviews: ‘The Judge,’ ‘Fury’ and ‘The Book of Life’
- Review: Cotillard shines in Dardennes’ moving social drama