Numb (2015) – Film Review
Director: Jason R Goode
Cast: Jamie Bamber, Stefanie von Pfetten, Aleks Paunovic
by Roger Crow
Husband and wife Will (Jamie Bamber) and Dawn (Stefanie von Pfetten) are in dire financial straits. The job he was counting on to salvage their future has disappeared due to a market collapse. (Not that she’s aware of that until later).
They head home on the winter highway back to their city, and pick up siblings Lee (Aleks Paunovic) and Cheryl (Marie Avgeropoulos), hitchhikers on their way to start a new life. In the best jump scare of the movie, they nearly collide with an old man wandering on the highway, hypothermic and frostbitten.
While searching for his ID, they discover a pile of cash, a hand-drawn map with GPS coordinates, and a single gold coin inside his coat. Will and Dawn reluctantly go along with Lee’s plan to report him to the police as a John Doe and pocket the money?
Venturing into the snowy wilderness in search of the buried gold, what unfolds is a tale as old as the hills. It’s Treasure of the Sierra Madre for the geocaching credit crunch generation.
I’m reminded of the superior Wind River, not least for the vast wintry landscapes and eclectic characters in search of a goal. In that case it was a murder mystery. Here’s it’s good old fashioned gold.
For the most part it’s a pretty solid thriller with good performances. There’s clearly an expert attached, telling the filmmakers what a savvy protagonist needs to survive in the wild, but at times there are huge leaps of logic. A knife through a boot doesn’t generate much of a response from a lead character, but it hardly matters.
“Keeps me watching”
It’s the sort of film that might crop up on Channel 5 around 9pm. A straight-to-VOD or DVD offering that is competently made, well acted and the script isn’t bad.
The finale is a tad cheesy, but the Canadian landscapes are impressive and it keeps me watching throughout. It also makes me yearn for superior similar offerings like No Country for Old Men and marvellous 1988 Sidney Poitier thriller Shoot to Kill (aka ‘Deadly Pursuit’), which sadly never seems to be on TV or Netflix.
Numb won’t change your life, but if you want a chilly chunk of escapism for a frosty night, then it ticks the box admirably and at 90 minutes it certainly doesn’t outstay it’s welcome.