Incendiary

Based on Chris Cleave’s vastly superior novel, Incendiary follows Michelle Williams’ nameless protagonist as she begins to lose her grip on sanity after the sudden death of her young son in a terrorist attack. There’s certainly a lot within Incendiary that works – Williams’ searing, engrossing performance, for one – and yet the entire thing just never quite adds up to much, as filmmaker Sharon Maguire delivers a mostly static narrative that’s compounded by a distressing lack of momentum. It is, as such, not surprising to note that the picture’s myriad of emotionally-charged moments fall almost entirely flat, which is disappointing, to say the least, given an ongoing emphasis on disturbing events and episodes (including, and especially, the aforementioned terrorist attack). And although the movie’s opening half hour is basically watchable, Incendiary segues into a sluggish and uninvolving midsection that slowly-but-surely transforms the film into a seriously interminable experience – with the end result a thoroughly misguided adaptation that jettisons everything above-average about the source material in favor of bland, generic elements.

*1/2 out of ****

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