Thwaite) is a good looking kid suffering from what I am going
to guess is Multiple Sclerosis since the reason he has lost
the use of his legs is not made clear in this film 'The
Signal'. The plan for Nic and his best buddy Jonah (Beau
Knapp) is to drive Nic's lady love Haley (Olivia Cooke) across
the country to her new place of residence. That's all
good and fine, but what Nic and Jonah really want to do on
this trip, these two kids being a couple of MIT egg heads, is
find the mysterious hacker Nomad and then… well… I don't know
what the plan is if they happen to find this guy. Kick
his ass I guess.
Luck of all luck, through executing some egg head type stuff,
they were able to find the genesis of the Nomad signal.
Or not. Next thing we know we hear a screaming girl and
Now when Nic wakes up, he finds himself in some sterile
hospital room attached to an IV and soon he is wheeled in to
meet up with the boss of the joint, decked out in one of those
natty HazMat suits, a man named Damon (Laurence
Fishburne). Damon just wants to know from Nic when he
first encountered the signal. Seems this signal is alien
in origin and everyone who comes in contact with it is
potentially infected with its alien juice. Or
something. Damon is throwing out info like it's attached
to 80 pound manhole covers so I'm not sure what he's getting
at. Nic is pretty confused right now as well, but his
main concern is where are his girl and his homeboy.
Nic eventually finds his friends, though they might be a
little different in some ways, just like he's a little
different in some ways, and the rest of this movie is built on
the house of cards of The Reveal so saying too much will ruin
the organic experience. I will say that your
appreciation and understanding of these various reveals will
be key to your enjoyment level when it comes to 'The Signal'.
directed by William Eubank, his movie 'The Signal' is a film
that looks to find itself in a bit of a conundrum.
Sometimes we see a film with a complex narrative that is
cooked down to a certain amount of simplicity to make it
accessible to the audience, where 'The Signal' seems to do
just the opposite. It's a simple enough story,
especially once everything is eventually revealed to us more
or less, but it seems this movie looks to go out of its way to
make it more complex than necessary. It also doesn't
help that the three acts of this visual play each carries its
own unique theme.
Act One: Road Picture… three friends seeing the country.
Act Two: Psychological Drama… boy trapped in a world not of
his making not knowing what the hell he's doing there.
Act Three: Chase Picture… The quest for freedom with the
villain, or not, hot on his heels. And these three
separate themes never completely merged.
Still, there was a lot to like about 'The Signal'. While
the film might not have come together to from one single
cohesive theme, there were positives in all three acts.
The young actors in the first act were engaging and their
quest was involving, and for this we can thank the talent of
our young director. The second act started out well, the
audience being baffled, right along with Nic, about what is
going on, but it started to drag after a while as watching Nic
stress became less interesting over time and watching Lawrence
Fishburne not give anybody any reasoning behind anything he's
doing got to be frustrating. Act three was probably the
weakest since I started losing interest in Nic and the plight
of his friends near the end of act II, plus the alleged
villain of this piece, when he finally started talking, was
making the most sense so we were on his side anyway. Not
to mention the barrage of action sequences that caught a real
bad case of the Slo-Mo's.
Ah… but then we have the big reveal. At the point when
we are hit with it, it did feel like much-ado about not
much. This is what I mean about taking the simple and
making it overly complex. It was like 'oh… that's it?',
then we move on. As if the movie was written in reverse,
the mind blowing twist being the first thing the writers
thought of, then went back to fill in the blanks to get
there. It was kind of underwhelming, when I really
wanted my mind blown.
Regardless, 'The Signal' might not have been a complete
success from a narrative standpoint, at least in my worthless
opinion, but it was well acted, very slick looking and had
some good ideas behind it.