Surge director Aneil Karia on starting small and filming on the London streets

Back in 2013, director Aneil Karia released a short called Beat. Starring Ben Whishaw, it was about a man living on the edge of society and behaving in a way that would be regarded as questionable. Fast forward eight years, and the director is back with his feature debut, Surge. The leading man is the same and the idea behind the short has grown.

Whishaw plays Joseph, a quiet, solitary man who works in airport security, a job that puts him under all manner of pressures. The demands of his aging parents and a life with little social contact all start to build up inside him until he eventually snaps and goes a day-long journey, free of all his emotional and physical burdens and where nothing and nobody else matters.

Talking to The People’s MoviesFreda Cooper, Karia reveals his fascination with big cities like London – the film was extensively shot on the capital’s streets – and how it exists both as a collection of millions of people and as a single organism, one with an energy that can shift and change at any given moment. Filming on the streets, he recalls, added an authenticity, even if it did pose some practical problems.

Flattered that the film is drawing comparisons with such classics as Falling Down and Network, along with the more recent Joker, he feels that Surge has more compassion and less anger than the other titles. But he’s delighted that, after such a torrid year for filmmakers, audiences now have the opportunity to see his movie on the big screen.


Surge is released in cinemas and on digital platforms on 28th May | Read our review of the film here