Portal - No Escape

A woman wakes in a cell, and to get out she must master the mysterious portal gun. Directed by Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane).

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: 06:56

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3 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Cathleen Alexander, Stephen Hems

Director/s : Dan Trachtenberg, 

Writer/s : Dan Trachtenberg, 

Actor/s : Danielle Rayne, 


Hole in the wall gang

If you’re into X-boxes and Playstations you’ll probably know about Portal. If you’re not, I’m the last to encourage addictive behaviour, but if there’s one reason to engage with gaming, it’s Portal.

Portal is one of the only computer games that doesn’t bother replicating war, stolen cars, football, Lego, or other aspects of the real world. It works purely on the logic and capacity of computing.

It takes place in a research establishment that has invented the “portal gun”. This marvel makes an entry hole in one surface, and a exit hole in another. So if you fire one in your prison cell wall, say, and the other beyond the bars, you can walk free. The game is about navigating your way out of the establishment.

It’s crying out to have a film made, and Dan Trachtenburg’s effort shows what could be done. It builds up slowly, with Chell, a prisoner, keeping herself fit until she finds a portal gun. Or is she given it? Once she works out what it does, she can make her escape.

There are some serious visual effects and stunts here, and the story builds through chases and fights, and clever ways of using the gun. The ending is unsatisfying, as we realise why there is no escape, but perhaps that’s the price for watching a proof of concept.

A hint of Stephen Merchant’s comedy turn from the game would help, guiding her out, or the game’s sinister Glados, watching all, manipulating all. (Her line “I might do something you’ll regret” would be iconic if it was in a movie.)

Maybe if this gets enough hits the film will be made. The concept is as strong as can be, so if they’re getting Lara Jones, I mean Croft, into yet another tomb, why not try something new and unique?