Saturday, November 15, 2014

Into the Storm

Coming down with a cold, I wanted to sink down in my recliner and watch something that would require no real effort.  That is, I wanted something brainless.  My choice was Into the Storm (2013; dir. Steve Quayle), about a cluster of tornadoes that besiege the small town of Silverton, Oklahoma, one spring afternoon.  I’d read the reviews that excoriate the film for its plotless implausibility.  No doubt, the way the tornadoes behave in this film is probably not very consistent with observed meteorological realities, though the film evades the need for reality by having characters point out on various ways how “nothing like this has happened before.”  Reed Timmer, the loud and in my opinion somewhat demented tornado chaser we’ve seen on Storm Chasers and other shows, insisted in an online essay that the film’s storms are realistic, if slightly exaggerated.[1]  He also wrote a book about his storm-chasing experiences from which the film took its title.  The loud and somewhat demented storm chaser whose crew are among the main characters in this film seems vaguely similar to Timmer and his storm chasing companions.  So here we have monster tornadoes devastating a town, and what is the film’s focus? A young man estranged from his father; teenage romance; a storm-chasing meteorologist longing to be with her child.  Father and son reconcile.  Teenage romance blossoms.  Mother and daughter reunite.  Oddly, despite the movie’s insistence on the historical proportions of the tornadoes besieging Silverton, only a few people are actually blown to their deaths.  There’s not much focus on the survivors either.  There’s more concern with the aforementioned teenagers, the tornadoes, and their special propensity to wreak havoc.  I have to admit that I was curious as to when certain characters would die.  For the most part, I was disappointed.  Of the main characters, only the loud and somewhat demented head storm chaser meets his fate in the monster tornado that blows him and his storm-chasing vehicle up into the heavens.

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