Genuinely foreboding supernatural thriller
10 June 2020
The Appointment is a genuinely foreboding supernatural thriller. Intelligently conceived, meticulously paced, it quietly and deftly unravels the disquieting course of events until the astonishing final scene. While it is set in a very ordinary, quiet English town, there is an almost palpable atmosphere of pent-up malevolence, introduced in the opening scene, and persistent throughout. Whether it emanates from a human being or it is something all together different, is left to your imagination to decide. Ian (Edward Woodward) is about to embark on an unexpected long trip to a business meeting. His daughter (Samantha Weysom), a musically gifted but peculiar girl who is overly attached to her father, takes it to heart when he has to leave instead of attending her violin recital. The girl is cloying and demanding, driving her mother Dianna (Jane Merrow) to the edge of impatience. The girl pleads with him not to go until his tight-lipped tolerance finally snaps, only to regret it and be condemned to a restless night. Troubled by his daughter's behaviour, and anxious about the long drive the following morning, sleep eludes him, until, finally dozing off, he experiences a pervasive disturbing dream. The inclusion of dreams in films is so often fascinating, and rich in symbolism, and sometimes the dreams can be portents or forewarnings that the dreamer should heed, but rarely do. There are carefully placed clues to caution him from taking the trip, from an incident in the garage repairing his car, to the moment, halfway to his to his journey's end, he calls home and is cut off just as his wife is telling him she had the same dream. She is feeling that something is amiss but doesn't have the chance to tell him to turn back. Although he observes a number of troubling motifs as he drives, he cannot make sense of them and continues on. Even an opportunity to alter the outcome, when he realises his watch has stopped and inadvertently left it in the phone booth after calling his wife. He returns to retrieve it, and proceeds on his way. Woodward is superb as an overwrought man who appears to have an unshakable feeling that things are not quite as they seem, and that his destination is also his destiny. This film might not make you jump out of your skin, but it will haunt you with an uneasy feeling of dread long after the extraordinary ending of one man's appointment with fate.
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