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Film Review: The Navigator (2014)

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SYNOPSIS:

A family heading toward their holiday destination are encouraged to take a shorter route by their GPS navigational system. During their journey they suddenly find themselves stranded. They are lost in the woods, away from any civilization with no fuel and no way of contacting the outside world. Will they reach their destination?

REVIEW:

Sometimes it’s incredibly difficult to suspend disbelief. Normally it’s not an issue for me but for some reason I just wasn’t able to pull it off with the Outback lensed thriller THE NAVIGATOR. The part of the premise is intriguing but when you really stop to think about it you realize it’s actually pretty dumb. Once you get past the setup you find yourself immersed in a film that’s rather dull and uneventful. A movie creeping along so slowly you will have to fight in order to keep your eyes from growing heavy.

It took me three sittings in order to complete it and even then it still felt like it was a tremendous task. If (and seriously, I mean if) you can make it past all of this then you may find a couple of interesting twists tossed in but mainly this thing really goes nowhere fast and leaves you feeling a little ripped off.

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Mandy (Sarah Bishop) Dawson is celebrating her birthday with her friends and family, including her husband Mark (Jamie Vergan). She’s having a great time and getting some awesome presents, including a brand new GPS Navigator. There’s something suspicious about the present since it doesn’t have a name on it and the unit itself is just hanging out in a plain box, no packaging or anything like that. The next day, they (along with their two young daughters) are about to set out on a family trip. Mandy decides she wants to try out the GPS, even though they know exactly where they’re going and they’ve been there many times before.

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The device leads them to the middle of nowhere and they run out of gas. Stranded, they have no place to go and need to find help fast. while searching for help, Mandy and Mark split up and she disappears. Mark is left alone with his daughters until a voice begins speaking from the GPS, challenging him, playing a game with him. Who’s behind this vicious game and who will survive when everything is on the line, including the lives of his two little girls. Every decision he makes will affect those around him so he better make the right choice.

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I really wanted to like THE NAVIGATOR, it has some interesting ideas and some rather clever twists later on in the film, but as a whole it just felt overly long, dull, and just not exciting enough to hold my attention. On top of this, the look of the film was rather drab and devoid of any real color or style, so you have to rely on the story to grip you and it doesn’t. Much of the suspense of the story has to be sold by lead actor Jamie Vergan, he does a solid job at doing so but one man can only do so much. The thing I found to be most troubling was the whole GPS thing. I mean really, if you received an unpackaged GPS from an anonymous person would you use it to get somewhere you already knew how to get to? Just a bit much for me. The balance between the torment Mark is going through and the side story with the detectives who are investigating felt a bit off balance and lacked focus.

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What I did like about the film lies later within the story and I won’t reveal or spoil any of these moments. It does prove to me writer/director Eddie Arya has the goods and is well on his way to being someone to watch. This was his first feature and as long as he learns from some of his missteps it will be interesting to see where he goes from here. I didn’t like THE NAVIGATOR at all, it just wasn’t my type of picture and it didn’t have the pace that works for me. I don’t recommend it but if you have the patience of a saint you just might find a thing or two in here to enjoy. (** out of 5)

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