Review: The World We Knew

Written and directed by Matthew Benjamin Jones, co-directed by Luke Skinner and co-written by Kirk Lake, who also stars in the film. After a job goes wrong, six armed robbers must spend a single night at a deserted safe house. But during their stay their pasts come back to haunt them. What is real and what is the product of their tormented minds?. Also starring: Struan Rodger, Johann Myers, Finbar Lynch, Philip Hancock, Simon Rhodes, Alexander Wells and Mat Harvey.

So you’ve just tried to pull off a heist, it’s gone wrong and you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of criminals, what could possibly go wrong? Well pretty much anything, which is why The World We Knew kicks things off on the right foot. The key to making this story work, within such a closed-in setting, is creating atmosphere and Matthew Benjamin Jones and Luke Skinner do that well. It captures the feel of anxiety and claustrophobia, as well as adding plenty of tension. One of the interesting choices around its aesthetic and feel is a timeless quality, if you took away the smart phones, it would fit perfectly into the 1980s. The visual quality is strong, the cinematography has a sharp edge and it has a great use of colour.

The way that the story moves feels somewhere between The Great Train Robbery and Suicide Kings. As it moves forward it leans nicely into that mentality of panicking and questioning everyone. The pacing is great and it’s familiar but original. However, it does make one key choice that differentiates itself, which is bringing through a supernatural element, there’s a haunting feel that lingers over the film. It gives things an extra level of intrigue and risk but unfortunately doesn’t truly come into play until later in the film so it hits a fairly unsatisfying note. It’s a shame as it feels like had it been more woven into the film as a whole, it could have made for a bigger genre blend and leant into the horror vein.

Another element the film has strongly going for it is the ensemble cast, there’s a great mix of actors bringing different qualities and personalities to the film. Alexander Wells brings the classic touch of youth, the less experienced and disillusioned presence. Johann Myers has a hyperactive personality, completely unsuited to being trapped so he quickly spirals. Struan Rodger is the experienced, wiser member of the group, while Finbar Lynch brings that touch of creepily calm.

The World We Knew is an entertaining crime thriller which dips its toes into horror. It’s a shame it didn’t dive right into those supernatural themes to intensify itself even more but it still has a great dose of tension and suspense. The cast are a very solid bunch who are easy to watch and each have something to add. It’s shot well, the location was a fantastic choice and it completely sidesteps all the typical things you’d be expecting from a British crime film, bringing something new to the table.

Verdict: ✯✯✯½ | 7/10

Out now on DVD & VOD

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