Radius, a 2017 Canadian sci-fi thriller, is currently trending on Netflix, but what’s it about and is it worth watching?
What’s it about?: A car crash victim (Diego Klattenhoff) awakes with minor injuries and no idea who he is. As he wanders the roads in search of help, everyone he comes into contact with keels over and dies right in front of him, their eyes turning white and their bodies drained of all energy. Using the wallet in his back pocket, the man discovers his name is Liam, and he manages to find his home. While hiding there in the hopes of not harming anyone else, a woman (Charlotte Sullivan) comes upon him but somehow doesn’t die. She has amnesia just like him, has minor head wounds from a car crash just like him, and whenever she’s around she seems to cancel out his mysterious powers, as if they were Will Smith and Charlize Theron in Hancock. But who are these people to each other? Why do they have amnesia? And what the heck is up with their powers? Those are the questions they seek to answer together.
Is it worth watching?: Yes; running just south of 90 minutes long, Radius hooks you with an intriguing premise, never lets you relax thanks to its tense score, keeps you engaged due to two strong lead performances, and rewards your patience in the form of various unexpected twists and an emotional finale. The film finally hits a speed bump with an embarrassingly wooden performance from a third party who joins the main two leads in the third act, but that’s not enough to drag the movie down entirely.
Radius is ultimately a testament to what can be accomplished on clearly very little money if you have a good story hook and two solid leads. Other than one special effects sequence, everything appears to have been accomplished practically in camera, and the setting is limited to scenes in the woods and in various locations throughout one small town. Furthermore, the production’s limited resources likely forced the filmmakers to devise a finale which ups the personal stakes rather than building to a larger-scale conflict, and the movie is all the better for it.
Recommended if you liked: Everything about 10 Cloverfield Lane other than the ending.
THE BOTTOM LINE
A fascinating sci-fi thriller about two amnesiacs with a mysterious effect on one another and history together, Radius registers as better than average for Netflix’s current genre offerings.
RANDOM PARTING THOUGHTS
- Just to be clear: Radius isn’t a Netflix Original, but it might as well be. Also, the title of the film refers to the fact that anyone who comes within a 50ft radius of Liam dies.
- The repeated scenes of various extras simply going limp and falling dead to the floor when exposed to Liam makes for a surprisingly effective and eerie visual.
- This is the second film from directing duo Caroline Labrèche and Steeve Léonard. Their first effort, 2009’s Sans Dessein, carries the following logline: “A young man is visited by the ghost of his older self in order to change his destiny.”
Have you watched Radius yet? Or have you been eyeing it on Netflix but waiting for someone to tell you if it’s any good? If so, did this review sway you? Or are you still holding out? Let me know in the comments.