Alpha Alert (2013) (Event 15)

Alpha Alert seems like a pretty stupid name for this movie. Fortunately, it has two other names: Event 15 and Trauma. Of the three, Trauma is probably the best, Event 15 is the next best, and Alpha Alert sounds like the name of an episode of G.I. Joe. And not one of the good ones - it's one of the ones where Destro only shows his chromey face like twice, and Duke doesn't fire a shot.

This movie is about three soldiers, and all of them are suffering some form of PTSD and dealing with it in their own way. The three get stuck in an elevator together when leaving their respective psychologists' offices. The pressure of being stuck in the elevator when it gets stopped in the shaft adds to their existing PTSD issues, and they all have to deal with their inner demons as well as the demons of the elevator-mates. The whole movie reeks of movies like Cube, Chariot, and Enter Nowhere where the focus is on the people and the situation rather than the events that caused them.

Our main character is played by the lovely and talented Jennifer Morrison. She is probably best known for her portrayal of Dr. Cameron in House, M.D. and she plays the ranking officer in the elevator, so it falls to her to take charge in this situation. I'm not sure I would have picked her, but she sells the character well enough. The underlying issue is that the characters have pretty clearly been written by someone with no military experience who also doesn't have any friends with military experience. Even wracked with guilt and reliving the worst thing that happened to her, she should have been able to deal with this minor crisis better.

James Frain is the doctor whose face we don't see for the first five minutes or so. We are supposed to believe that his face is of some import, and it doesn't make any sense that it would be. When we see his face, it is gimmicky, and it doesn't really matter, either. I've never really liked him as an actor, and this role didn't change things.

Josh Stewart plays a really angry guy who would never have made Sargent. He is openly hostile toward his superior officer, and he is intolerant of pretty much everyone (including his doctor.) As such, he's more of an agitator than a useful member of the team. His character is supposed to be annoying, and he is, but this is not how soldiers act.

Stephen Rider is the third person trapped on the elevator. I guess they decided it was necessary to have a third person who would actually act like a soldier would in these circumstances. Other than that, he's pretty much a non-entity. Did he play the character well? Sure, why not? No Best Supporting Actor award going to him, though.

Directing was okay
Story was weak
Acting was good
Cinematography was okay
Special effects were mediocre

Bottom Line: Interesting enough to be on TV.



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