Photo: João Paulo Serafim

It’s not Just the Virus: Unfurling Layers of Identity, Power and Emotion Beneath/Beyond the Plot in the Movie Containment (2015)

Sonia Malik

Hindu College Sonepat

Abstract | The fear of human extinction – real or illusionary – is essentially rooted in the layers of the human subconscious mind. Since the 1918 flu, the world film industry has been intermittently exploring and encashing subjects like zombies, viruses, pandemics, epidemics, and apocalypse. The present article discusses a less talked about but highly promising British thriller film, Containment, which hit the cinemas in September 2015. Containment is around 80 minutes long movie hitting at the very core of conflicts and crises in a situation where a group of people has been trapped inside their homes without any prior information. They are left with no food, electricity, and other essential commodities. The movie is a beautiful projection of vulnerability of human values, lost love, cooperation, sympathy and empathy, individual v/s community, morality and immorality, freedom and subjection, power dynamics, identity politics, intellectual and emotional responses in the face of unprecedented and undesired tragedy. More than what the movie shows, it is discussed and debated for what it hides, controls, and does not deliver. Along with the apparently delivered scope of the movie, the article looks for “what isn’t there” right away. The purpose is to bridge the gap between the fictional environment of the plot with socio-political aspects of life which go beyond the story. It lays bare the filmmakers’ encoded concepts and motifs in the movie – intentional and unintentional both.

Keywords | Pandemic; Containment; Identity; Power; Psychosocial.