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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: Rachel Ward and Vernon Wells
Mediumrare Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 15
Available 16 May 2011

In an isolated outback community in Australia, a class of nine children ranging in age between youngster and mid-teens, are being taught in a one-room schoolhouse by their young female teacher. Their world is turned upside down when a gang of four gunmen, wearing animal masks and led by a man in a Father Christmas mask, burst in on their studies and force them into the back of a van. They are eventually made to slide through a gap - which is then blocked-off - and find themselves in a cavern. Pooling their resources and finding courage in each other, the group discover a hazardous route to safety. However, the men are still on their trail, and they soon realise that the time has come to stand and fight...

You quickly realise that this film is much more about the children’s rite of passage than anything else. The abduction is merely a means to an end. Rachel Ward of The Thorn Birds fame does a sterling enough job of a teacher both protecting and encouraging the kids, but there are a number of unanswered questions. Most importantly of all, the viewer never finds out what the gang are hoping to achieve. Is it to hold the group for ransom? These are poor backwater siblings so that wouldn’t make sense. It’s also never explained why the gunmen threaten and ultimately shoot the elderly couple in their home. And why are they so keen to protect their identities with vivid masks, only to ditch them at the conclusion of the film?

Two or three of the kidnapped children stand out as having a little more personality than the rest, and this makes them convincing enough to accept them as prematurely emerging adults.

Fortress is a story of the hunted becoming the hunters, and it’s enjoyable as such. Just don’t look too closely at the holes in the plot, otherwise you might end up falling though one of them.


Ty Power

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