What happens when you try to take the horrific, high-intensity atmosphere of a film like Saw and combine it with the classic man-on-the-run storyline of a movie like The Fugitive? You get this latest science fiction, thriller The Answer which is directed by Iqbal Ahmed and stars Austin Hebert, Alexis Cara, and David S. Lee. This film follows the character of Bridd Cole, played by Herbert, who goes about his life as an introverted mailroom associate for a stock company who later on after receiving a mysterious letter from his presumably dead mother discovers that there’s more to his life than what it appears and must now find out who or what he really is before darker forces get to him first. One might be familiar with the phrase that the hero is only as good as their villain. This holds true on so many levels but mainly because if a film provides an exceptional villain then that can elevate the main hero of the story and give the audience a reason to root for them to succeed. While this movie offers a mildly interesting antagonist called Leader who is played by Lee, the same cannot be said for the protagonist unfortunately.
Bridd Cole is an overall uninteresting and disappointing main character to follow throughout this film. Given his shy demeanor, one would expect or hope for there to be something more under the surface such as some form of exposition for this character but there is no such thing anywhere in this movie and that leads to my main problem being that all of the characters are bland and clichéd. From the timid yet apparently heroic character of Cole to the main love interest of Charlotte Parker, played by Carra, who shamelessly serves as the stereotypical damsel in distress, every character in this movie is one note and the cheesy dialogue that these actors are given does nothing to boost the intrigue of their respective roles. For the majority of the film, we are forced to follow the journey that Cole and Parker are taking together to figure out the mystery of who Cole is. The reason that I say that we as the audience are forced into this adventure with these two characters is because of not only the fact that they are dull, but also because of this far-fetched relationship that develops between them.
This aspect of the film, out of everything else, felt the most rushed where there’s literally one scene in which Parker actually acknowledges Cole’s presence for the first time after not really knowing who he was to the next scene where they are now apparently in a romantic relationship. Beyond the fact that this whole relationship was rushed without any development beforehand, the chemistry between these two is nonexistent to the point where you find yourself scratching your head at the fact that these two characters are supposedly together. Another issue with this film is the inconsistency with tone. There are just so many moments when you feel like you’re watching a different movie because of how a number of scenes convey a different genre such as romance, horror, action, or comedy which is jarring to try and figure out what a certain scene wants you to fell in regards to the film as a whole. As mentioned previously, the one character that I gravitated towards was the main villain, Leader, mainly because of the ambiguity behind him and how he rarely speaks but commands the screen with his intimidating presence. On the other hand, when the revelation came as to what the villain’s plan was; I was underwhelmed and wanted more time to be dedicated to the villain and his organization’s back-story.
By the time the eventual confrontation between the hero and villain came, I was ultimately uninterested in the showdown because of how much I didn’t care for the protagonist and couldn’t take him seriously as this action hero the film was trying to present due how my first exposure to Cole was so off-putting and unbelievable as someone who could perform such feats later on displayed. Sadly, I found myself feeling like I spent over two hours drudging through an uneventful experience when in actuality the film’s runtime was much less than that.
Verdict: 1 out of 5
In a time when we are so inundated with so many multi-million dollar blockbusters from Hollywood, finding unique and entertaining films on the smaller scale of the industry is always a treat and unfortunately this film is not an example of that. Despite having a decent villain that kept you at least curious as to what his next move was going to be, the other characters offered little to no substance for a remotely enjoyable time during this movie. With a protagonist that is unremarkable, a female co-lead that serves no greater purpose than being the love interest, and an overall mess of a film that incorporates too many genres without steady flow, The Answer will leave you not really caring whether or not the main character finds the answers that they are looking for. The Answer, at the end of the day, is a science fiction, thriller at its core, but without any intrigue.