The Survivalist (18)
by Stephen Fingleton
12th - 18th February 2016
First-time feature filmmaker Stephen Fingleton comes to the fore with
this highly unusual movie, in which global catastrophe has taken place,
for example, fossil fuels have been exhausted, which has led to a complete
breakdown of society as we knew it, and it is every man and woman for
The focus of this post-apocalyptic world falls on a nameless protagonist
- the man with no name - played by Martin McCann, who is holed up deep
inside a Northern Irish forest living in a shack and surviving on homegrown
He seems apparently safe from trespassers and marauders - he has set
many mantraps in case anyone tries to invade his space.
But out of the blue two women appear, making him very, very uneasy about
their presence. One is a prematurely white-haired mother, Kathryn (Olwen
Fouere), and her daughter Milja (Mia Goth), who plead with him to supply
them with food and accommodation inside his small dwelling.
After debating within himself whether he should do so, he finally agrees
to help them, somewhat assisted by Milja's willingness to have sex with
him, openly encouraged by her mother, who occupies another room when they
But there is nothing straightforward about this situation. As the title
states this is a world about survival at whatever cost. This proves even
more stark in the closing stages.
The charismatic Olwen Fouere, a noted theatre actress, holds the attention
throughout, particularly in not knowing what is going through her devious,
To add to the detached nature of the film from 'real life', dialogue
between the characters is used only sparingly and no music is featured,
except for the occasional snatch of an harmonica played by the nameless
The tight framing of his shots by cinematographer Damien Elliot, and
many very close-up views of people's faces adds to the feeling of disconnection.
One critic compared it to Andrie Tarkovsky's masterpiece Stalker. I would
not agree with that view but nevertheless The Survivalist is highly impressive.
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