Sunday, February 12, 2023

Into the Storm / ** (2014)

Movies like “Into the Storm” are an endurance test – not merely for the attention span of the audience, but for the patience of minds like mine that are exhausted by repeated visits to the tired and storm-battered corners of middle America. They seem to be manufactured rather than made, assembled out of parts of any number of pictures that highlight the framework, then spliced together by hands that have been convinced they can still pass as solid entertainment in a culture that has ready access to their older (and often better) predecessors. Only occasionally will they be dressed up in the skin of something novel, although there always remains the question of purpose: if the source was good enough to redo in the first place, what are the odds of doing it better a second time? For a good way through this latest excursion in volatile tornado alley, I was at least cautious in my disdain: perhaps under new direction, through the “found footage” camera lens that is a go-to for just about all things, something more interesting could be done with the concept of ambitious disaster pictures. But fate, alas, is not on anyone’s side here – least of all those watching it all happen. When a character holding a camera up to his face announces “this is the biggest tornado I’ve ever seen” while foolishly standing just a few yards from its swirling vortex, I had not fear or concern for him: only the hope that he would get sucked up and the movie would be over.