8 February 2010 | rsoonsa
Loses Its Way, Due To Gaps In The Narrative, And Lapses in Characterization.
Those viewing this film with an objective eye will not be puzzled by its generally anonymous state, as it squanders some good casting choices, along with a potentially interesting storyline, due to slapdash post-production editing and an erratic hand at its reins, in addition to labouring with prominent flaws of logic and continuity. A man named Wilson (John Gabriel) is seen taking leave of his small son, and then hitchhiking to Boston Harbour where, while posing as a French sailor, he plans to work aboard a ship bound for New York. However, the craft has become disabled, and Wilson decides to stow away upon a freighter, hoping to avoid being discovered by secreting himself within one of the vessel's two passenger staterooms. This cabin has been assigned as floating residence for the captain's daughter, Katherine Jason (Anne Randall), but Wilson holds her as hostage at gunpoint while members of the United States Coast Guard come aboard to search for him, because he apparently has committed a heinous crime. After avoiding detection, he vows to Captain Jason (Joseph Cotton) that he will not harm Katherine if he will be permitted safe passage to the Port of New York. To this the captain agrees, as he is primarily concerned with his daughter's safety, and the greatest portion of the film's action alternates between Katherine's cabin, where she is attempting to learn about her captor while viewers revisit his crime through flashbacks, to Jason, who is fully occupied with keeping a hazardous situation from his crew, particularly the ship's first mate (Charles Durning) who can not understand why the girl has not left her room since boarding. The film begins crisply enough, initially punctuated by fine attention made to detail, but an errant scenario lays it low, as it suffers from pronounced flaws in logic and continuity, such as when the freighter's unnamed second mate is addressed by the actor's actual given name (Preston). Additionally, Gabriel's felonious act cannot be geographically consistent with the screenplay as visualised through the flashbacks. The ending of the available (maimed) print is rushed to an extraordinary degree, and albeit that most viewers will find the work's climax to be unforeseen, its impact is sharply lessened due to excessive post-production cutting that has distorted the plot. A monotonous score is simply obtrusive, and while the visuals follow an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the image is heavily cropped, having as well an immoderate amount of distortion. DOOMSDAY VOYAGE has been released upon a Mackinac DVD that provides as its only extras biographies of the principal players, and a short essay describing the film. A decision to amputate large chunks of footage from the movie's climactic scenes proves disastrous. Second-billed Gabriel gives an intense performance to win acting honours here in a production that had too much removed from it and too little of value added.