Navigating Trauma: A Review of The Fallout (2021)

Friday, January 28, 2022

Movie poster for the film The Fallout, showing Jenna Ortega and Maddie Zeigler laying with a pillow


Rating: R

Runtime: 1 hour 32 minutes

Genre(s): Drama

Released: January 27, 2022

Directed by: Megan Park

Written by: Megan Park

Starring: Jenna Ortega, Maddie Ziegler, Niles Fitch

Yep. We have another film with a school shooting as an important part of the story. I know I mentioned in my review of Run Hide Fight that you shouldn’t be surprised if I posted a list or something on this topic, but I did not expect to be writing another film review so soon. 

This review contains spoilers. Please do not continue if you hate having things ruined before watching for yourself.

The Fallout focuses mostly on Veda, a survivor of a school shooting, and how the trauma affects her and those around her. This film is very much a modern version of the films that come before it. It was an obvious inspiration taken from the Parkland tragedy which leaves some characters feeling very cliche. Other characters come off as extremely realistic and raw (in a very “tv teenager” sort of way). This series feels like someone took a show meant for Freeform and gave it an R rating, but didn’t want it to be as shocking as something like Euphoria. However, this does not make the film bad, because it isn’t. Jenna Ortega’s performance as Veda and Maddie Ziegler’s as Mia were especially well done.

This is a solid directorial debut from Megan Park. The intensity of the shooting was felt deeply by the viewer, even though the main violence was thankfully off-screen. The emptiness and isolation of trauma were shown in the silence and long scenes of simplicity, which made it feel more realistic. I was worried when things near the end started heading for the cookie-cutter “everything is fine” ending that so many similar films tend to take, but I was left pleasantly surprised with the last 30 seconds. Trauma doesn’t just quickly go away, and the panic at the end was the most realistic depiction of PTSD I have seen in a film in a while. 

Rating: 7/10 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Should you watch it?

Absolutely. It is especially perfect for anyone who likes teen drama, films about shootings, and/or films about how individuals deal with trauma.

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