Wake Up

Wake Up poster

It could have been security guard Kevin’s last shift at home goods and flatpack furniture megastore Home Idea but for his brother Jack who intervened when their supervisor wanted to fire him on the spot after an altercation with a customer; instead, he’s on his final warning, working the next four weekends regardless of prior plans he may have made and relegated to the night shift in order to minimise his contact with the customers, though at least it should be quiet and uneventful.

Enter Ethan, Yasmin, Grace, Tyler, Emily and Karim, six environmental activist extremists who hold Home Idea responsible for the deforestation of the Amazon and want to make a scene, walking in boldly towards closing time in full view of the security cameras then concealing themselves as the lights dim before emerging to vandalise the store with spray cans and paintball guns, filming themselves calling on the public to wake up to the injustice of the corporate position while also triggering Kevin’s barely contained rage.

Wake Up; what's even the point of vandalism if it's not shared online?

Directed by François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell, the collective behind Turbo Kid known as Roadkill Superstars or RKSS, Wake Up is written by The Communion Girl‘s Alberto Marini, a violent after-hours thriller of direct action and aggressive wannabe alpha male over reactions where many wrongs don’t add up to anything approaching right which had its UK premiere at FrightFest at the Glasgow Film Festival.

Starring Benny O Arthur, Jacqueline Moré, Alessia Yoko Fontana, Kyle Scudder, Charlotte Stoiber and Tom Gould as the masked activists, any worthy cause they purport to represent is only in order to damage goods and property through a night of irresponsible hijinks, more interested in playing games than making a point and causing trouble for the poorly paid workers who clean up the shop floor rather than the boardroom executives who make policy decisions.

Wake Up; a call for help, nobody hears, nobody cares...

A film which in other circumstances might have explored the nuances of the questions it sidesteps in favour of hooliganism, digging into the deeper responsibility to the world and the greater sin of inaction, instead Wake Up does more damage than good, as indulgent as the spoiled, selfish and naïve intruders who, as one of their number points out, are not exactly from the poor side of town, the cry of “let’s get this party started” confirming any moral high ground they occupy is no more than an excuse to act out against the wrong targets.

With Aidan O’Hare’s Jack all that is standing between a caveman out of control and total carnage, when blood is spilled and Turlough Convery’s Kevin loses his thin grasp on the line between acceptable force and unleashing homemade weaponry and booby traps it is difficult to muster sympathy for either side of the nihilistic equation, Wake Up undeniably well-staged but relentlessly nasty for the sake of it and inferior to Hunt Her Kill Her where a similar premise plays differently because one of the parties an innocent fighting for survival.

The Glasgow Film Festival concluded on Sunday 10th March

Wake Up; Kevin (Turlough Convery) dons his war paint before battle.



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