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quietearth [Celluloid 08.11.07] post apocalyptic movie review



Year: 2005
Release Date: August 14th (Region 1 DVD)
Director: James Bai
Writers: James Bai
Cataclysm type: Unknown (called the Great Decline)
IMDB entry: IMDB
Trailer: link
Amazon link: link
Review by: quietearth
Rating: 8 out of 10
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Key Characters:
Walter (Stephen Galaida)
Puzzlehead (Stephen Galaida)
Julia (Robbie Shapiro)




Overview:
You're probably wondering how this movie is post apocalyptic. Set in what looks like Brooklyn, "after the decline", the streets are empty and there seems to be constant random killings. But that isn't the story, it's just the setting.

The anti-federalists and luddites have forced the closure of all bio-mechanical laboratories and began replacing them with fertility clinics. Funding ceased for everything not directly related to re-population. Walter, the scientist, managed to salvage a lot of equipment, specifically a machine which he uses to scan his own brain to create a neural net for an android. He makes this android in his own image.



The Story:
Walter "raises" the android, which he names Puzzlehead, all the while making adjustments, specifically his eyes. As part of this raising he dumps knowledge into him, in what looks a little bit like Matrix style, but he also uses more simplistic methods like reading for pattern recognition and sound formation.



When Walter is satisfied that Puzzlehead is ready, he first sends him outside to deliver a letter. All the while the android is fascinated with the world on this short walk which seems almost magical, and you get to see parts of it through his own eyes. On another venture outside, the android runs into one of many seemingly random criminals and gets shot. He comes home with his right arm flailing due to the damage.



It becomes readily apparent that Walter has a crush on the girl in the local deli, whose name we find out later is Julia. In fact he's had a crush on her for years. On a trip to the store, Puzzlehead saves Julia from a robber, and returns home the next morning. Walter is angry, and this is where the trouble starts.



The Review:
I have recently given other movies like The Last Winter an 8, which was for sheer enjoyment and the ending. But this gets an 8 for totally different reasons. For the beautiful imagery, for the appropriate desolation, for sucking you in, for it's silence. Silence is something not many movies can do well, but this movie does a fantastic job. Then I have to tell you I would take away the word "movie" and replace it with "cinema", because that's what this is. It has a Hitchcock flair to it. I really have nothing bad to say about this movie, I loved it!



This will be one of those flicks you see in the rental store where there's only one copy, and you see it, pick it up, and read the back, and instantly you know you're going to see a great movie, the likes of which you haven't seen in quite a while. I really look forward to seeing James future work, and I would highly recommend seeing this movie regardless of its contents, it transcends any idea of genre, it is a cinematic masterpiece, and by a first timer, James Bai.

Special thanks to James for the screener!

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