You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Rupture’

Noomi Rapace faces her eight-legged fears in Steven Shainberg's silly, grimy B-movie that makes less sense the more it explains itself.

Noomi Rapace, Michael Chiklis, Kerry Bishé, Lesley Manville, Peter Stormare, Jonathan Potts.

There appears to be no onscreen torture we can invent but some producer’s first thought is “I’d like to see Noomi Rapace undergo that in a movie.” Graphic sexual violence? Niels Arden Oplev’s “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.” Excruciating self-surgery? Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus.” Strangulation by a dead woman’s identical twin? Brian De Palma’s “Passion.” And now we get “Rupture,” perhaps the sine qua non of the “let’s torture Noomi Rapace” subgenre in which she is tased, kidnapped, tied to a gurney, repeatedly drugged, forced to wear a helmet full of spiders and other things too spoilery, and too daft, to go into here.

But maybe the cruellest extreme rendition to be visited on Rapace is her ongoing, tantalizing proximity to the A-list, where despite an impressive resume, she’s never quite managed to establish herself. And that is one effort in which “Rupture” does her no favors. It’s a grimy little B-movie that squanders its slight early promise when it devolves into derivative sci-fi nonsense, and it’s a disappointment that both she and director Steven Shainberg should seem so at home here. It’s been 15 years since Shainberg’s wonderful “Secretary” and 11 since his lesser, yet still interesting “Fur,” but this film replaces his facility with gentle, peculiar inquisitions into fetishism with something much more generic.

Rapace plays Renee, a divorced, arachnophobic mother of one living an average suburban life, worrying about her son’s problems with math and her own prickly relationship with her ex. Or maybe not so average: a few CCTV shots of the interior of her house suggest someone is watching. These shady figures are led by Michael Chiklis who is credited as Bald Man, which gives you some idea of the characterization that he, and the rest of the mysterious cabal who abduct and experiment on Renee, are accorded. It’s a constant source of relief (but also bafflement) that the eclectic cast is as good as they are: Were Renee’s captors not played by talents like Lesley Manville, Kerry Bishé, and Peter Stormare as well as Chiklis, (all of whom seem to be having a grand old time, to be fair) there might be no way of telling them apart.

The majority of the film is Rapace writhing against her leather restraints and resourcefully deploying a lucky utility knife, in between encounters with her her emotionless abductors. And for a time it almost feels like it might have a sort of low-rent Kafka-meets-“Cube” purity to its conceit. But Shainberg and Brian Nelson’s screenplay intrudes, and soon whatever metaphorical or metaphysical potential the premise may have had evaporates in favor of plodding exposition that is more bunk than an Amsterdam hostel.

This is a plot that feels lazily reverse-engineered from a collection of disparate, pre-existing scenes and elements, rather like one of those cooking shows where contestants are given a selection of random ingredients and forced to come up with a meal. “Rupture” plays like Shainberg had a giant tombola in front of him and pulled out names and tropes by chance (“Lesley Manville!” “Fear of spiders!” “A room whose wallpaper pattern is the carpet from ‘The Shining’!” “Nondescript warehouse location!” “Noomi Rapace!”), before cooking up a dish that, sadly, tastes like so much reheated hash.

Popular on Variety

Film Review: 'Rupture'

Reviewed online, Berlin, April 28, 2017. Running time: 101 MIN.

Production: (US-Canada) An AMBI Media Group release of an AMBI Entertainment presentation of a Tango Pictures production. Producers: Steven Shainberg, Andrew Lazar, Andrea Iervolino, Monika Bacardi, Christina Weiss Lurie.

Crew: Director: Steven Shainberg. Screenplay: Shainberg, Brian Nelson. Camera (color): Karim Hussain. Editor: Michele Conroy. Music: Nathan Larson.

With: Noomi Rapace, Michael Chiklis, Kerry Bishé, Lesley Manville, Peter Stormare, Jonathan Potts.

More Film

  • Box Office Mojo new

    Box Office Mojo Site Transformed by IMDbPro

    BoxOfficeMojo.com has been transformed into an IMDbPro site, losing some of its free features. The Amazon-owned site, which had previously operated free of charge, was given a new look with its header reading “Box Office Mojo by IMDb Pro.” Information such as breakdowns by genre is now only available behind the IMDbPro paywall. The Box [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Hocus Pocus' Sequel in Development at Disney Plus

    Disney Plus has launched development of a sequel to 1993’s fantasy comedy “Hocus Pocus” with “Workaholics” writer and co-producer Jen D’Angelo on board to script. The original “Hocus Pocus” starred Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as a trio of witch sisters who have been cursed since 1693 in Salem, Ma. The witches [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Wins 2019 Eppy Award for Best Digital Magazine

    Variety has won two Eppy Awards from Editor & Publisher, including Best Digital Magazine and Best Collaborative Investigative/Enterprise Feature for “American (In)Justice” — a collaboration with fellow PMC property Rolling Stone. “American (In)Justice” also tied with USA Today’s “Copy, Paste, Legislate” collaboration with The Arizona Republic and the Center for Public Integrity. Variety has provided [...]

  • Joker Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

    Box Office: Villains Face Off Again as 'Joker' and 'Maleficent' Battle for First Place

    Despite three new nationwide releases, domestic box office charts look to be dominated by holdovers — Warner Bros.’ “Joker” and Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” — during the last weekend in October. “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted last weekend with $36 million in North America, enough to dethrone “Joker” after the super-villain origin story’s back-to-back [...]

  • Yasushi Shiina

    Tokyo Market is Finding New Strengths, Says Yasushi Shiina

    Clouds on the global economic horizon and disruption to the scheduling of the event, have done little to dampen the interest of foreign visitors to TIFFCOM, Japan’s biggest film and TV market. Especially those from China, says market head, Yasushi Shiina. The market is again running at the Sunshine City shopping, entertainment and business complex [...]

  • "Weathering With You" directed by Makoto

    Toho Unveils Dual Media Romance 'Love Me, Love Me Not' at Tokyo Market

    Japan’s biggest film company, which produces, distributes and exhibits its own product in partnership with leading media companies, Toho has brought a line-up to TIFFCOM full of present and future hits. The biggest is “Weathering with You,” the love story animation by Makoto Shinkai that surpassed the $100 million mark only a month after its [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content