What do you get when you take a fucked up part of town in England, the Leader of the Night’s Watch from Game of Thrones as a priest, a main character who is afraid to go outside and some crazy kids in hoodies lurking the streets sticking pregnant women with dirty syringes and stealing their babies? You get a whole lot of what the fucks and a fear of riding in elevators. Also, the movie is pretty good too despite some flaws.
I don’t know what it is about the Brits that they can make a movie that has some issues that would normally drag down any movie that was made in Hollywood but when they do it, the issues either add to the movie or at least doesn’t make the movie unwatchable. This is the case with Citadel.
We start off the movie by seeing our main character Tommy and his pregnant wife moving out of their shit hole apartment complex ready to embark on what appears to be new and brighter future together. Tommy leaves his wife for a few minutes to go down stairs and take care of a few things.
When Tommy rides what is possibly the worst elevator in history back up to the 11th floor he lives on, he see his wife looking at him from the hallway where he left her smiling back at him. Suddenly some hooded figures emerge and advance towards his wife. The shitty elevator refuses to open its doors and then suddenly begins to go back down to the first floor as Tommy’s wife gets violently attacked in the hallway.
Once back on the bottom floor Tommy has to rush up eleven floors to get back to his wife. Once there the hooded figures run off leaving his pregnant wife bloodied on the floor with a syringe sticking in her belly. What follows is his wife going into coma, giving birth, dying nine months later from an undetermined infection and Tommy developing some severe agoraphobia.
As the movie plays out we see, even though Tommy has moved from the high rise shit hole, he is now living in a small two-level shit hole. He is also trying to care for his infant daughter alone while also trying to cope with his fractured mental state. We also begin to see what appears to be a neighborhood that is not only run down and crime ridden but has some dark secret to it that goes beyond just vagrant kids with no parents.
Tommy eventually meets a foul talking priest who seems to know more about what’s going on with the hooded children. After Tommy initially blows him off as a cook, even after seeing some strange stuff, he then goes back to the Priest for help after a rather unpleasant incident.
The atmosphere and base story of Citadel I found really enjoyable and it kept me engaged throughout the film but I also found some things that didn’t make sense to me. For one, it seems Tommy was getting ready to move away from his hellhole environment and turned his keys into the renting property. While trying to catch a bus they leave his ass there for the night where he has to break back into his old apartment to stay, which then leads to some more bad moments. After this, I never really see him try to leave that neighborhood again, and the film tries to make it seem because of his mental state he can’t leave but I also can’t see why he would stay even in such a state.
There are also some other things that didn’t add up such as, even though Tommy says cops won’t come to such a neighborhood, there are cases of missing people and some other grave crimes that I would think someone would HAVE to investigate the area regardless of the police’s lack of concern. Also there was an explanation from the Priest about how Tommy could be safe with the help of a blind boy. That explanation seemed to be a lie and then not a lie depending on the circumstances in the film? I was like huh?
The one other major thing that bothered me is that we do get an explanation of what is going on…as in a full explanation. Honestly, I felt this was a mistake. Sometimes NOT knowing is scarier than knowing the full story, and I felt knowing what was going on hurt Citadel more than it helped it.
Normally these plot holes would be a recipe for disaster and I would really not enjoy a movie otherwise but for some reason, whether it’s the director’s style, the odd story, creepy kids or a combination of all these things, I found Citadel an interesting watch despite the flaws. Even with me seeing some stuff coming I still jumped at the abruptness of some things.
If you are in the mood for a creepy or strange story give Citadel a shot and if you have misbehaving children let them watch and tell them this is what happens to bad kids. They won’t misbehave anymore.