We take a look at one of Anne Heche’s final films, the weather-disaster film Supercell co-starring Alec Baldwin and Skeet Ulrich.
PLOT: A teenage boy runs away to follow his father’s footsteps, legendary storm chaser Bill Brody.
REVIEW: It’s been quite a long time since we’ve gotten a fun film about inclement weather. Having grown up on films like Twister and Deep Impact, natural disasters always make for a thrilling story. Whether the other pieces come together is often up to the individual, but I feel most people going into a “weather” movie, have those expectations properly adjusted. But Supercell has a surprising amount of heart and some interesting performances that put this above some other low-budget types.
Supercell starts in fairly stereotypical fashion, with our lead’s father dying in a giant supercell. Years later, his mother is a complete mess and has left weather researching behind. Yet the son, William, wants to walk in his dad’s footsteps. That’s to say he wants to research Supercells… not die in them. I’m someone who has a lot of weather anxiety so this definitely played off of some of those fears. There are moments that feel very true to life and capture the unpredictability of these storms. And it’s such a weird thing to enjoy but I feel like it stood out so much that it needs to be singled out: the titles. The font is so aesthetically pleasing and fits so well on the screen.
With Anne Heche‘s death late last year, Supercell is one of several films of hers to be released posthumously. Heche’s Dr. Quinn Brody is a sad character to watch in the beginning. She starts as part of a celebrity storm-chasing couple but loses her husband. When we pick up years later, she’s a cleaning lady and looks to be barely scraping by. Heche is great and is one of the many surprising elements at play here. There’s a sadness to her and her inability to cope with her husband’s death. Then Skeet Ulrich does a decent enough job but feels a bit miscast. Though he does give the best performance of the movie as he argues with Quinn.
Alec Baldwin plays a bit of a pompous owner of the tour guide company. He’s out for thrills and money and he’s honestly pretty fun. I was shocked at how much he was in the movie as I expected him to pop in and then leave. He gives a lot more than I was expecting and was easily the best character. And I can’t be the only person that thinks Daniel Diemer looks exactly like Will Poulter. He does a decent enough job, even if his character was a bit frustrating. There are some inconsistencies, like the kid supposedly being a weather stud like his parents, only to not know that the hail storm he was in WAS NOT, in fact, a tornado. Come on, dude, even I knew that.
Director Herbert James Winterstern is clearly going for an Amblin/Spielberg aesthetic both with its themes and tone. But it’s the music that plays so beautifully into this. Corey Wallace does an absolutely fantastic job, clearly using John Williams as a massive inspiration. There are moments where you can practically hear the E.T. score. The effects range from fairly photorealistic to absolutely laughable. The disparity was honestly shocking. Given how important effects are for a film like this, these are huge marks against it. There are some driving moments that are some of the worst I’ve ever seen in a full-blown production. It really clashes with the otherwise beautiful cinematography.
Supercell is an extremely charming movie. I never would have expected a “tornado movie” to have such heart but it exceeded any possible expectations. Unfortunately, the effects really hold it back and make some moments that should be tense, rather laughable instead. All the pieces don’t really come together but there’s clearly a lot of talent behind the camera. While this isn’t one I can see myself watching again, I’ll be sure to keep an eye out on the filmmakers and some of the cast, as they are clearly going to go on to do big things.
Supercell is IN THEATERS, ON DIGITAL AND ON DEMEND MARCH 17TH, 2023.
Originally published at www.joblo.com