Blackout (Channel 4; Review)

blackout channel4I watched Channel 4’s film ‘Blackout’ last night. The premise is simple – the UK is the victim of a cyber-attack that brings down the National Grid. This power outage – that affects the entire country – lasts for several days (I think it was 5 days in total).

What this dramatisation sought to show was a rapid decline into lawlessness and ‘dog eat dog’. Imagine people ‘coming together’ and supporting one another? Uh uh. That’s not going to happen (according to this film). It was quite ‘edge of the seat’ stuff, much of it filmed (and told) through camera-phone and camcorder footage (think ‘Blair Witch Project’). The tension was certainly ratcheted up and the end was quite shocking. I thought the acting very good and the characters believable. They had an ‘every man or woman’ quality that made them easy to believe in.

Sadly – I don’t think that the scenario put forward by this film was ‘only the stuff of fiction’. I could see it happening. The London riots of a few years ago have made it very clear that such things are entirely possible here. The UK is an extremely individual-orientated (versus community-orientated) country and those scenes of neighbours not knowing one another, massive mistrust of strangers and the general feral instincts of some of society’s more unpleasant components were – to my mind – entirely plausible.

I’ve made this comment once before – but I think back to when I was last in France and engaged in a long, long conversation over dinner with a very ordinary British couple who have lived in rural France with their family for 10 years and who have said how entirely different it is – values and community-wise – vs the UK. I was struck again by that thought last night.

Anyway, if you’re in the UK and haven’t seen it – I recommend it. It’s presumably available on 4od for a while.

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