Taking a dark look at a post-apocalyptic world

Martin McCann plays a loner making his own way in the wilderness in The Survivalist.
Martin McCann plays a loner making his own way in the wilderness in The Survivalist.PHOTO: YOUTUBE

LONDON •In The Survivalist, director Stephen Fingleton's feature film debut, there is a dark imagining of a post-apocalyptic world where society has collapsed and each man must fend for himself.

It is enough to have earned Fingleton a Bafta nomination on his first go.

The low-budget thriller stars Belfast-born Martin McCann as the unnamed survivalist, a loner making his own way in the wilderness.

His life changes drastically when two women, portrayed by Mia Goth and Olwen Fouere, come across his shack.

Fingleton said in an interview: "Our civilisation is based on a foundation of resources that can't be replenished and I began to imagine what I would try and do to try and survive in such circumstances.

"And so it kind of came from that fever dream of imagining who I would become."

Shot in Fingleton's native Northern Ireland, The Survivalist has little dialogue.

However, the director tries to evoke a sense of the end of the world with a stark atmosphere and nuanced acting.

"The interesting thing about working on a low budget is that you don't necessarily have a long time to rehearse so we had to be guided, as a director and as the cast, by what the characters would really do," he said. "And so we were trying to find out the truth of the situation, the truth of what their characters would do."

The movie premiered at last year's Tribeca Film Festival and, last month, Fingleton was nominated for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) awards, which will be held in London on Sunday.

It opens at British cinemas tomorrow.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2016, with the headline 'Taking a dark look at a post-apocalyptic world'. Print Edition | Subscribe