Joseph works in security at a London airport. His life proceeds in an orderly fashion but, in spite of his contact with other people during the course of his job, he seems to be isolated from his surroundings. The anxiety felt by some passengers when they are patted down before check-in and the impersonal atmosphere amongst his colleagues both affect him. After a visit to his parents, something snaps inside this loner and another Joseph comes to light: one who takes what he wants, invades others’ personal space and does not even shy away from criminal acts. Between eruption, escalation and destruction, he undergoes a painful process of self-discovery, the starting point of which is closer than we would like to admit to the actual living and working conditions of many people.
Filmed in images of nervous intensity, and with a stirring performance by Ben Whishaw, Aneil Karia’s directorial debut portrays 24 extraordinary hours in the life of an utterly average man, a day that could equally be perceived as either a downward or an upward spiral.
by Aneil Karia
with Ben Whishaw, Ellie Haddington, Jasmine Jobson, Ian Gelder
United Kingdom 2020 English 99’ Colour


  • Ben Whishaw (Joseph)
  • Ellie Haddington (Joyce)
  • Jasmine Jobson (Lily)
  • Ian Gelder (Alan)


DirectorAneil Karia
ScreenplayRita Kalnejais, Rupert Jones
CinematographyStuart Bentley
EditingAmanda James
MusicTsujiko Noriko
Sound DesignPaul Davies
Production DesignAlexandra Toomey
CostumesCharlotte Morris
Make-UpLizzie Mair-Davies
Assistant DirectorMatt Alder
CastingLara Manwaring
Production ManagerAnna Janscó
ProducersJulia Godzinskaya, Sophie Vickers
Executive ProducersEva Yates, Rose Garnett, Lizzie Francke
Co-ProducerScott O'Donnell

Aneil Karia

Born in England in 1984. In 2013, he made the short film Beat which screened at film festivals around the world. His second short, Work, was nominated for a BIFA and a BAFTA award. He also worked as a director on the series Pure and Top Boy. Surge is his debut feature film.


2013 Beat; short film 2016 Work; short film 2020 Surge; Panorama

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020