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Alan Maxwell [Celluloid 07.31.09] movie review apocalyptic drama



Year: 2009
Directors: Conor Horgan
Writers: Conor Horgan
IMDB: link
Trailer: N/A
Review by: Alan Maxwell
Rating: 9 out of 10

At a recent screening of Richard Jobson's recession-tinged Scottish chase thriller New Town Killers, the director had to point out that since people all over the world losing their livelihoods was a bad thing, there was nothing "lucky" about the seemingly providential timing of the film's release. One suspects that if Irishman Conor Horgan's new feature gets a wide release he may have to make a similar statement as, with the recession in full swing and now accompanied by a global flu pandemic, he delivers us an uncomfortably realistic vision of the breakdown of society.


The worst seems to have already happened when the film opens. We don't know when (though it has obviously happened recently) or how but there is no doubt that this is not a pleasant future. Two couples are holed up together in a cabin in the country, trying to survive while civilisation picks up. Their only other contacts are with their neighbour Tim, who helps out occasionally but clearly believes the time for charity has passed, and a couple of Garda from the nearby village who appear to be the only law left in this particular part of the Emerald Isle.

Horgan's post-apocalyptic world is all about realism. There are no spectacular motorbike chases, no grand visions of scavengers in the streets of half-ruined cityscapes, no mutants or monsters; there are simply a few people working their hardest to survive. The realistic portrayal, the character-based approach, its quiet, slow-burning build-up and its rural setting all recall the original 1970s series of BBC's Survivors, and Horgan's accomplished feature can more than stand up next to that apocalyptic classic.

This is certainly no television show however; this was very definitely made for the big screen. The film looks breathtaking. Shot on the new Red camera, there is little difference whether we are in a dimly-lit cabin or taking in the full splendour of the Wicklow scenery, the film is positively luminous from start to finish. Horgan and his cinematographer Suzie Lavelle must receive plaudits for ensuring that no matter how grim the end of civilisation becomes, it will still look like an oil painting. It's an impressive achievement, especially when one considers that the film was made as part of Catalyst Project, a filmmaking scheme intended to produce three Irish features with a budget of just quarter of a million Euro each.

Full marks also to the cast, who take a script that is light on action and bring it to sparkling life. In the quest to survive from day to day the characters find that there is as much of a threat from each other as from the outside world. Trapped in a tiny space with the same people for any length of time can bring out the worst in all of us; imagine the same scenario when food supplies are running dangerously low and you have some idea of the conflict that awaits.

This acts as the main catalyst for what is the closest the film has to an outbreak of action, as the gang begin to fight with each other and with anyone else who threatens their survival. Thrilling moments emerge but despite ample opportunity to ramp it up, Horgan exercises admirable restraint. One scene finds Jonathan (Ciaran McMenamin), the closest the group has to a leader, discover an oil tanker stopped nearby (once more bringing to mind Terry Nation's TV show) but while others might use this as the springboard to go down the Road Warrior route, Horgan never forgets that it's all about the characters.

There is little else one can, or should, say about this film as to go into it in any further detail would ruin the joy of watching it unfold. Tightly scripted, beautifully shot and with standout performances from all the cast, One Hundred Mornings is not without some gallows humour - witness the stunningly brazen way that one character deals with an unfortunate turn of events involving two of the others - but ultimately offers a grim, chilling but entirely engrossing vision of things to come, which marks Horgan out as a talent to watch.

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agentorange (8 years ago) Reply

Wow, this sounds amazing. Timely and extremely smart.

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projectcyclops (8 years ago) Reply

Wow, great review, this sounds pretty ace.

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Anonymous (7 years ago) Reply

Hi, you know where I can watch online? or download? thanks

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Anonymous (6 years ago) Reply

i cant find this any where

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Anonymous (6 years ago) Reply

why is this movie proving to be elusive, any ideas where i can find it

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Anonymous (6 years ago) Reply

It will be playing at this year's London Scifi Festival. News to come soon.

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Eekogirl (6 years ago) Reply

I live quote close to where the film was shot and so was interested to see it but very disappointed - it's not that we want mutants or anything (quite the opposite) but I thought it lacked dramatic tension, was emotionally flat, the characters were mainly one-dimensional, I didn't care about them at all (not just because of their being flawed), it was dreary with potentially dramatic events unfolding one after another without eliciting any emotional engagement. Perhaps I should be kinder, as it is his first film, but I think it does have a touch of the film school about it... I hope he can develop as an actor. I'm just saying don't expect too much so you won't be disappointed.

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chiguy (6 years ago) Reply

Couldn't agree with you more. I kept waiting hoping for a building climax...only to discover that it really never comes.

Also the ending is a bit ambiguous....I say watch something else...

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Sinead (4 years ago) Reply

I am so sick of Hollywood blockbusters that feature the stereotypical Irish man as either a terrorist or some happy go lucky guy spouting Irish sayings. At least this movie portrays the Irish as something more although like others I was disappointed that they did not go further in the character development. Unfortunately it did follow the current action movie Hollywood style of all action and no emotional plot development. Maybe it could have done with some <a href="http://irishsayings.net">Irish sayings</a> or pithy dialogue to break the non stop action. Still it a good night out if your expectations are for this kind of movie.


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