There’s a magpie nest outside my bedroom window. Magpies, for those who don’t know, are evil, noisy, winged bastards who deliberately ruin the last two hours of your kip before work. I did not know this until the hideous, airborne witches thrust it upon me with their excruciating sunrise cackle. Fuck you magpies.
I knew nothing of Fortress either, but it popped up in my recommendations so I watched the trailer and it looked terrible. I immediately purchased it.
The Blu Ray (that I could afford the high definition version is a portent of doom alone) case proudly announces Mike Phillips as director. Phillips is a man astonishingly somehow mostly known for his effects work. Fortress is, I suppose, not without its effort. That dear reader, is the best compliment I can pay the film.
Attempting to wow with its opening scenes, which are worryingly try hard and hampered by the fact that the sound man got all the settings wrong, Fortress had me laughing immediately. Interior shots, which looked like an old fashioned moving vehicle shot where a stage had wheels the clouds past, didn't take half a second to see the joins in. Modern technology has allowed an awful filter to be applied over it to attempt to cover the still conspicuous filmic failure.
The sky battles look like a computer game- not a terrible computer game, but not a great computer game. What’s disconcerting is the rest of the film seems to have been shot on a set no bigger than a living room. It made me wonder if the dogfights were literally just lifted from a game, interspersed with a flimsy B-17 interior and a cameraman in withdrawal to give the image some cinéma vérité movement.
"Don't worry Terry, those shakes are really helping! More brown for you when we wrap. Someone wipe Terry's sweaty forehead!"
In case you were wondering that the devotion of the cast could save Fortress, adding steel and depth to the film… the most famous actor in it in is Chris Owen. Owen is best known as The Shermanator in American Pie. Defying all acting odds, he’s fucking terrible, as much so as the rest of the cast. In addition the writing is flaccid; Lawrence Olivier couldn't thumb this in.
Frankly, the budget shortcomings are obvious, every penny of the total £150 the filmmakers spent all went on the computer game they lifted the battle scenes from. They overpaid for the computer game. Fortress is joyless and borderline cynical.
Bedsit Cinema began because I hated a film I had high hopes for. There have been others which joined The Beguiled- The Light Between Oceans and The Snowman, but I went into Fortress expecting nothing and was still disappointed. I knew nothing about it yet it really pisses me off.
Bedsit it? Apparently magpies are put off by CDs and DVDs suspended from the tree they nest in because of the annoying reflection. Genuinely.
Guess what disk is first on my fuck you magpies tree of shiny? Fortress gets 2/10 only because I somehow finished it, managed some laughs (not intended by the filmmakers) and that I might be able to use its corporeal matter in my war against the birds of Beelzebub.