Film Review: 'The Shift'

Author: Kristina Cooper

Film Review: 'The Shift'

Kristina Cooper finds plenty of interesting features in the brave, modern-day film inspired by the book of Job, "The Shift".

With Advent in full swing,an interesting sci-fi film  called “ The Shift”, written and directed by Brock Heasley and produced by Dallas Jenkins of “The Chosen” fame, has hit our screens.

Although not a Sci-fi devotee,  I found the film quite intriguing. It has a Christopher Nolan feel with the same sense of mystery and disorientation.  The story draws on films like The Matrix and the idea that there is another reality – multiple realities in fact and possibilities,  behind ordinary life, that we don’t see.  

One certainly feels for the hero Kevin (Kristoffer Polaha), a hedge fund manager down on his luck. He meets Molly, a beautiful woman at a bar (the luminous Liz Tabish – Mary Magdalene from 'The Chosen'). They fall in love, get married and have a child. This is all over in about 10 minutes, which is a shame as the bulk of the film is what happens to the hero, after he has a row with her when their 6 year old child disappears.

Following a car accident, he comes round to find himself trapped in a dystopian world, unable to find his way back home. Hence the title “The Shift”. The idea is that we see reality through our own lens and our view of what is happening is very subjective. Evil is wanting everything and everyone to be bit players in our lives doing our will and bidding.

Watch the trailer for 'The Shift' below.

A Mysterious Stranger

Kevin meets a mysterious stranger, a Satan like figure called the Benefactor (Neal McDonagh) who promises him the version of his wife Molly he wants, and where he will be at the centre and in control if he works for him. Although Kevin is disoriented, he realises this is a temptation and despite  not being a strong believer, has the gumption to pray the Our Father. 

This is enough to make the Benefactor disappear. But as a punishment Kevin is banished to a horrible, grey, violent, oppressive reality where there is no God, no hope, no love and no joy. The only comfort people get is to go to the cinema and be transported to the reality they want.

In the midst of this Kevin tries to hang on to  his faith-by writing half remembered scriptures on pieces of paper and passing them on, or by sharing a sandwich to those worse off. Like Job, whatever is thrown at him he hangs onto the idea that one day he will get back to his wife and his home.

Glimmers of love and hope

Even in this horrible world, there are glimmers of love and hope and kindness shown by people. Another favourite from the Chosen, (Paras Patel – Matthew) appears in a minor role as part of a Christian couple who want  Kevin to teach the scriptures to their children, so they can have hope for the future.  

The narrative of the film with the different  time frames  and realities means that there is a lot of going back and forward, which makes for a very fluid plot line and you have  to concentrate to keep up with things.  The battle between good and evil is played out both within Kevin and in the world he inhabits as he tries to find his way home.

Interestingly although it’s a happy ending, Kevin doesn’t quite get his old life back but another version of it, in which Molly is there, but in a slightly different way. Kevin has learnt through his suffering, and we see how this  helps him navigate this new chance at life and happiness. An interesting film, and worth a look.

  • 'The Shift' is out in cinemas now.

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