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United Kingdom · 2020
1h 45m
Director Aneil Karia
Starring Ben Whishaw, Ellie Haddington, Ian Gelder, Jasmine Jobson
Genre Drama, Thriller

Joseph, an airport security officer who struggles with his stressful job and his difficult parents, breaks from his dull, miserable life and goes on a wild, criminal spree across London, beginning with an impromptu bank heist. The film follows Joseph's escalating, erratic behavior as his psyche breaks down under mounting pressure.

Stream Surge

What are people saying?

Ricardo Rico Profile picture for Ricardo Rico

Very tense film. Surge has lots of moments that are hard to sit through but impossible to look away. It manages to make you question how much of your day to day decisions are balanced between your true desires and societal expectations, and what you'd be capable of if, like the main character, you decided to live on impulse and instinct.

What are critics saying?


Screen Daily by Fionnuala Halligan

An uncomfortably un-restrained Whishaw, and an enhanced, aggressive sound design make Surge a raw experience and its eventual lack of any deeper insight is a little like rubbing salt into that experience.


Variety by Guy Lodge

As an experiment in steering a potentially tight thriller entirely by one character’s irrational whims, it’s abrasively compelling, even if the go-go-go plotting doesn’t withstand closest scrutiny.


The Hollywood Reporter by Leslie Felperin

Even though Whishaw is mesmeric, by the end of the 105-minute running time the whole experience starts to feel like being trapped in a broken-down subway car with a violent mental patient.


The Film Stage by Matt Cipolla

Karia hasn’t made a deep film or even a particularly unique one, but he’s made one that has enough to get by. It’s not just good—it’s good enough.


CineVue by Matthew Anderson

Whishaw is utterly compelling and committed to this performance, and we watch the slow-motion car crash unfurl with mouths often agape, but Surge needs more depth to really leave a lasting mark.


Time Out by Phil de Semlyen

It feels a little too skin deep; a film content to get by on its vicarious thrills. And the rush eventually wears off.


The Observer (UK) by Simran Hans

Whishaw’s intensity is gripping to watch but the character remains opaque; whether we’re meant to read Joseph as experiencing psychosis or simply suffering the unforgiving conditions of city life under capitalism is ambiguous.

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