Title – Help (2021)
Director – Marc Munden (Miranda)
Cast – Jodie Comer, Stephen Graham, Ian Hart
Plot – Recently employed at an aged care facility, Sarah (Comer) strikes up a friendship with resident Tony (Graham) a middle-aged man with early onset dementia with the two needing each other as the Covi-19 pandemic sweeps across the UK in early 2020 causing chaos in the nursing home/care facility industry.
“No one is coming”
Review by Eddie on 01/03/2022
You’re more than justified in thinking that a made for TV dramatic thriller set in a downtrodden British aged care facility isn’t going to be the most pulse-pounding of feature length experiences but when you dig a little deeper into director Marc Munden’s Help, which is a collaboration with renowned UK based writer Jack Thorne and stars Jodie Comer (who was everywhere in 2021) and the always fantastic Stephen Graham, you should quickly reevaluate your thoughts on what Help is and just how well it does its job.
More horrifying than most so-called horror films of late and perhaps more confronting than many would expect thanks to its basis on real life and fresh in the memory Covid-19 horrors from early 2020, Help isn’t what you would call a typically enjoyable watch or even an easy to watch affair but it’s a necessary piece to the pandemic puzzle as Munden’s film stands tall above the pack of other Covid-19 inspired features that are likely to continue to come thick and fast in the new world order we find ourselves in at the present time.
Following Comer’s kind-hearted by inexperienced new aged care worker Sarah as she ventures into a new nursing role at an under resourced aged care home run by Ian Hart’s Steve and featuring Graham’s dementia suffering Tony with whom Sarah strikes up a friendship and rapport with, Help throws Sarah and its audience into the deep end in an extremely tense way as Sarah and the residents she is tasked to look after find themselves dealing with a global pandemic no one fully understands in a system that was not at all prepared for how it was supposed to deal with such an unforeseen event.
As you would expect from the talented Comer and Graham, both performers are more than up for the task of bringing Munden and Thorne’s horrific true to life visions to life on the screen and in a stunning middle section where Sarah finds herself in a thankless situation, the performances of both British actors is some of the finest you will see on screen in 2021 regardless of a product being made for the small screen or big screen and this stunning 20 – 30 minute period gives Help a raw and frenetic energy not many films can ever find.
It’s a shame the films final act feels both rushed and underdeveloped by Thorne, from great highs the film does peter out noticeably in this period which is a shame as had Help maintained the momentum and gripping power of its its start and core, Help would’ve taken some serious beating to be dethroned as the TV movie of the year and the best Covid-19 infused feature yet.
Final Say –
With some captivating work from its two leads and an important examination of what has transpired so far in the heat of the Covid-19 pandemic, Help becomes a searing affair that is let down by a finale that doesn’t feel worthy of what has come before it.
4 cups of tea out of 5