by Sam Robinson
Rated M. Starring Richard Armitage, Matt Walsh. Directed by Steven Quale.
I think it’s fair to say that nobody is going to be lining up to see Into the Storm expecting to see a cinematic masterpiece. A film like this is never going to earn Oscar nominations, or critical acclaim. Nor will it contain fine acting, or an intelligent script.
Surprisingly though, Into the Storm does suck you right in to the action. Pun intended.
Let me back things up for a bit to explain the premise to you, in case you haven’t seen the trailer. This is basically Twister meets SharkNado, with higher production values and far less sharks.
The small town of Silverton, Oklahoma is hit by a crazy big storm, that launches tornado after tornado on unsuspecting victims, struggling to hide from its path. The film is shot like a documentary, combining footage from both tech-savvy students shooting videos for a school project at the time the storm hits; and also from a television crew of storm chasers.
That’s really all you need to know. The rest plays out like a story of survival as cars, buses, houses, and even planes are thrown around violently, and obliterated by the wild weather.
If anything, it’s worth seeing Into the Storm for the wild special effects. At points I was wondering how the crew managed to make sets of splintered houses and smashed up cars and trucks that look convincingly like they’d just undergone a tornado hit. Remember, you didn’t come to see an amazing story, you came to see things get destroyed. And Into the Storm does this in spades.
What really let the movie down for me was the confusion of style. As I mentioned earlier, it’s shot like a documentary with handheld camera, but there’s these points when you’re lost in the ‘realness’ of it all and a cinematic soundtrack will suddenly begin and totally undercut the action. The script isn’t flash and the performances aren’t either.
‘This is the biggest tornado I’ve ever seen!’
As the storm strikes, people in Silverton are simply flabbergasted at the enormity of it all. The professional storm chaser TV crew is struck by fear. The schoolkids become helpless, sheltering in stormwater drains (the last place I’d want to hide in a storm). Everyone quakes in their boots at the ‘biggest tornado ever’ as we’re informed repeatedly.
This reminded me of a storm that happens on a much smaller scale (but still to frightening effect) in the Bible. A real storm. Jesus is with his disciples on a boat crossing the sea of Galilee and a ‘furious’ storm hits while Jesus is asleep. He sleeps through the storm! But his disciples awake him. Mark 4:39-41:
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Jesus has power over this storm. He has authority over the weather. Nothing is ever out of his control, even today. This film, as silly as it is, confronted me to think that at a word Jesus would be able to cease the biggest tornado ever. It’s crazy. We needn’t have fear in a storm, because if we have faith in him, we have a hope that extends beyond this life. And by his Spirit, he promises to be with us through every hardship and trial.
Into the Storm may lose some impact once it leaves cinemas, so try and get along for the loud, destructive nonsense on the big screen. I’m giving it two out of five stars.
Into the Storm is screening now in cinemas everywhere.