Eddie Marsan is an actor whose face you might recognize, but he’s not at the level of someone like a Russell Crowe or Gary Oldman. Over the history of his career, Marsan has popped up in smaller roles in some big-time movies like Filth, Hobbs and Shaw, and, even more recently, Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen. That said, Eddie Marsan breaks that tradition and gives the best performance of his entire career in the tight, raw, and claustrophobic thriller Feedback.
Feedback focuses on a late-night talk show radio host, Jarvis Dolan (Eddie Marsan), who plans to reveal a bombshell news story on the air until two masked intruders take over the studio and force him to read their script or face the violent and grotesque consequences.
The best thing that Feedback has going for it is the lead performance by Eddie Marsan, who dominates the screen every single time he’s on it. It’s obvious that he’s having a blast in this role, but Marsan plays a character that’s very understated and much more complex than one might guess. There are so many layers to his character. You learn so much about him as the film progresses, that by the end of the movie, he’s completely transformed into someone that’s so drastically different from our first introduction. Granted, it’s a lot for someone who’s not known for being a lead in many movies, but Marsan manages to play it with ease.
Alongside Eddie Marsan is actor Richard Brake, the head of the masked intruders. If you’re a genre fan (Mandy, Doom, Three from Hell) or fan of Game of Thrones (The Night King), then you’d probably be able to recognize Richard Brake, even though he spends a lot of time in Feedback behind a mask or as a disembodied voice. Brake brings a lot of foreboding malice and extreme intimidation into the role, especially in scenes where he viscously voices to Marsan’s character through the headphones.
Feedback is a super violent and very claustrophobic movie that primarily takes place in a sound recording booth, and all that credit has to be given to director Pedro C. Alonso. His direction is full of beautiful lighting, grit, and a great sense of emotional weight as he did a magnificent job getting great performances from the cast and providing powerful and quiet moments, while ramping up the tension even more. He also handles the violence exceptionally well. Some might find the violence to be a bit too much or a bit extreme, but the tone of this movie and the vibes of the characters’ motivations seemed to fit within the context of the world that’s been laid out. None of it was over the top, nor did it feel like the movie was glorifying the violence.
In the grand scheme of things, Feedback isn’t going to take home any awards, but what it succeeds at being is a claustrophobic thriller that beautifully builds up tension until the audience is about to snap. Most of that hinges on Eddie Marsan’s terrific performance and he delivers his best one to date. There’s a chilling calmness and certainty which flickers in between the cracks. Alonso ensures that the action never lets up and that his audience isn’t given a moment’s rest. Feedback impresses in all the right ways, and, whilst the ending could prove contentious (no spoilers), something about it felt right.
Available on DVD February 18th, 2020.
Final Score: 4 out of 5.