AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS: Welcome to the New Britain
Christmas with your family can be a glorious time. Surrounded by your loved ones, opening presents and sharing the joy of the season with food, drink, and song. That’s what the holiday specials will have you believe, but as most of us know the reality is far from those images. Drunken arguments, awkward conversations, and being forced to stay longer than you want to is the real truth behind the closed doors of the family home. So when I watched Await Further Instructions, I smiled as the film took the reality and took it one step further into Twilight Zone territory.
The story centers around the Milgrim family on Christmas Day, where Beth (Abigail Cruttenden) the meek mum tries to bring the family together but is faced with conflicting views and personalities from the other members of her toxic family. We have Nick (Sam Gittens) returning to the family with his Asian girlfriend Annji (Neerja Naik), which doesn’t sit well with their racist grandad (David Bradley) or Nick’s chav sister Kate (Holly Weston) and her meathead boyfriend Scott (Kris Saddler), who really don’t want her there. Trying to bring it all together is the dad Tony (Grant Masters) whose solution is to berate and shout, showing that he is the head of the family. While just this dynamic could be enough to make a film about the family, suddenly they realize that they are trapped inside the house and cannot escape. Only the TV gives any insight into what is happening by displaying a line of text simply saying “Stay Indoors and Await Further Instructions”.
The film encapsulates the post-Brexit feel of modern Britain, even though it was filmed before the vote. Director Johnny Kevorkian captures the feeling of xenophobia, mistrust of the media, and generations of families turned against each other because of their ideas of what is acceptable and what isn’t. The claustrophobic feeling of being trapped is passed onto the viewer, making you feel like you are trapped in there with them feeling as awkward in the arguments as you would if it was your family you were watching. Grant Masters portrays his role as an authoritarian father with an air of confidence, making you genuinely hate the character for what he says and how he treats his wife Beth. But all the cast are brilliant in their roles, achieving what each character sets out to do which is either make you hate them or sympathise with them, and you will by the end of the film.
Speaking of the end of the film, the last 20 minutes will take you on a tour-de-force of emotions and leave you wondering what just happened, but it caps off the film in a great way giving you a moral tale with a twist which lends to The Twilight Zone, and if you are a fan of the classic episodes you will certainly not be disappointed with Await Further Instructions. The film can be seen as a commentary on the current political climate not only in Britain but also America, which I believe is why it has been so well received there, but at the end of the day this was a precursor to all of these things, and hopefully not more to come.
Await Further Instructions is a great film brilliantly acted, written, and directed, but may hit a little too close to home for some. But for those people I am sure they will wait to see what the TV tells them to do next. And for the rest of us: YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Await Further Instructions is released in Cinemas and on Premium Video on Demand from 7th December 2018 and you can follow them on social media here Social Media: