Carlos Violadé’s Foreigner is an exercise in tension and anxiety. Someone get me a Xanax as I succumb to uncomfortable moments pretty fast. Maybe your constitution is more robust than mine, but this 27-minute short film does the job.
Our young protagonist, Mark (Josh Taylor), is a British businessman on holiday in Spain. He meets a friendly crew of locals, including Amaro (Luka Peros). The group takes an instant liking to Mark and offers to throw a party so he can meet some pretty girls.
Then Amaro invites Mark on a quick boat ride along the gorgeous Spanish coast, and he accepts. The boat is tethered, just offshore. It’s only a short swim to the boat, and so the two are off and running—except Mark is distracted by the beautiful sea life. He is pulled past Amaro by the strong currents.
“As the sun sets, Mark is stuck in the middle of the ocean with no sign of rescue.”
Amaro calls out and tells him to wait for him to pick him up, but the boat engine won’t start. Amaro tells Mark to wait until he can get help and warns him not to fight the current. As the sun sets, Mark is stuck in the middle of the ocean with no sign of rescue.
Over the remaining 20 minutes, it’s a battle of survival as Mark finds himself in an impossible situation. Foreigner does not have much to say message-wise, but it effectively tells a simple story of a man abandoned at sea and then draws us in as close to that experience as possible.
Writer/director Violadé slowly pulls us into peril from the very beginning. He disarms you at first with an innocent gathering over a meal and makes you feel all warm and safe. Then he slowly walks you down that path of dread beginning with an ominous, slow-building score telling you something terrible is about to happen. Do you fear the water? Let’s add some brilliant cinematography in, and under, the water and plenty of incredible shots surrounding Mark to reinforce that his situation is not good.
Foreigner features all the right stuff that makes a simple thriller thrilling. I haven’t felt this way since seeing the Oscar-nominated short Fauve. Violadé’s storytelling skill is the star and supported by a fantastic crew. Now that I got all this off my chest, I might be able to fall asleep.
"…slowly pulls us into peril from the very beginning."