Directed by Rob Green. UK. 2001.

Talking Pictures alias







About Us



I saw The Bunker about a year ago at Raindance and it doesn't surprise me that it's taken a year to get a cinematic release of any kind. It's not that it's a bad film, but it does have a number of, ultimately, serious flaws.

Let me say right off the bat I'm not out to slag the film off - anyone who gets a film made has done something very very few of us ever will, so they deserve praise for that. The film looks good, I think the director (Rob Green) does a very good job with what he's got - a limited budget, a good cast (which includes Charley Boorman, Jack Davenport and Jason some others you'll recognise) and some limited sets. There's quite a lot of walking down the same corridor shot from a different angle to give the impression of a bigger set.

The problem with the film lies with the story - and not the script, by Clive Dawson, who handles the characters and dialogue fairly well. Most of it is not cringe worthy and that's an achievement in itself.

If you were writing a TV synopsis for this film it would go something like thus: It's 1944. When a group of retreating German soldiers take refuge in a seemingly deserted bunker, they find themselves at war with themselves and a malevolent force that lurks in a subterranean tunnel system.

The Bunker. All Rights Reserved.The problems with the story is this: the main character/hero/protagonist is never clearly identified so we have no idea who we're rooting for. Cross of Iron by Sam Peckinpah shows how a lead character who's a German soldier can be portrayed sympathetically - at least enough so we'll root for him. All we have here are a bunch of desperate Germans.

The film does not appear to be about anything - it has no clearly defined theme or statement (at least that was apparent to me) and most importantly, the monster, the enemy, the antagonist is not clearly defined - hence, there is no tension. What are we afraid of? We don't know because we never see it or get to understand it. And when all is revealed at the end we're left feeling deflated, like 'so what?'

The story appears undercooked and underdeveloped but it's hard to tell whose fault it is - the writer may have needed more time but been up against production schedules. However, the end result is a film that shows promise in the first 30 minutes but soon flags when it has to deliver - because there is nothing to deliver.

It's a shame because the flaws I've mentioned are quite easy to fix - all you need is time. Ultimately, the story peters out in a hodge podge of fudged mystical shenanigans.

I found myself looking at the uniforms and weapons quite a lot. One character carries a FG-42 Assault Rifle - when I saw that it impressed me that someone had done their homework and used an unusual but authentic weapon (it's the weapon the Russians turned into the AK-47 if you're interested).

That's my opinion anyway. Don't let me put you off seeing it though - make up your own mind. And as someone said to me recently, "Most of us aren't even capable of writing the worst film we've ever seen."

Robert Moss

Web References

An interview with the writer of The Bunker, Clive Dawson, can be found at:
Search this site or the web        powered by FreeFind
Site searchWeb search

   Home | News | Features
    Book Reviews | About Us
Material Copyright © 2002 Nigel Watson