At a remote hide away by the seaside, Roy Tunt spends his day watching and documenting the various birds that he sees. His quiet sanctuary is disrupted when a stranger named David shows up and while Roy isn't sure what David wants, he lets him in anyway. As the day wears on, the two men engage in various conversations and slowly begin to reveal the truth as to why they have come to this isolated location.
"The Hide" is the debut film for British director Mark Losey, and he comes out of the gates with a bold title featuring an isolated location and only two characters. Minimalist movies are not uncommon, but it's definitely tip of the hat worthy to do that as your first feature length because it takes a lot of talent and skill to make it work. Unfortunately I don't think "The Hide" has the means to be a noteworthy debut and maybe should have been left as a short film.
There isn't much to the movie or story than what you read above: "The Hide" is about David, a stranger who wanders into the isolated and secluded sanctuary for Roy Tunt when he is bird watching. The two men, who know nothing about one another, engage in odd conversations that tell the real story. Mixed in with flashbacks of horrifying images of severed body parts being picked at by birds, we're left to sit and wait for one of the men to break and come forward with their true intentions.
Now "The Hide" is not a bad movie at all - in fact it is actually good because it is very well made. The cinematography is beautiful, the soundtrack is amazing and the core concept of the story is solid. Can't go too much into the story without spoiling it, but when the final act comes and everything finally boils over, it becomes extremely satisfying. For me, however, it is everything that is leading up to that point that made the movie less interesting than it needed to be.
The acting by Alex MacQueen and Phil Campbell was good - an excellent pairing of two different characters who are invading each other's world. The problem is that the movie really is nothing more than these two having various conversations. Sometimes relevant to the truth or the back stories of the characters, other times trivial and mundane. Overall though, the conversations that are had are extremely dull and while we are bombarded with flashes of body parts, there is never any sort of atmosphere or tension that is built. We know that an inevitable climax is going to happen between these two, most likely a violent one, so we are stuck waiting for that. We never get the suspense of the slow burn until the big reveal - we're merely waiting. Almost as if we were standing in line and waiting for someone to call our number so we can get on with our lives.
It's a very well done movie by Marek Losey and, as I said earlier, a bold attempt for a feature film. It has a number of high points but unfortunately the lack of tension and build-up to the climax and the dull conversations between the two characters made the movie more lack luster than what was good for it. Overall it was good enough that I think as a short film "The Hide" would have kicked ass and taken names. As a feature length, it's rather dull.