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quietearth [Celluloid 12.02.07] movie review scifi

Year: 2006
Release date: December 4th, 2007 (DVD)
Director: Nicholas Peterson
Writers: Nicholas Peterson
IMDB entry: link
Trailer: link
Review by: quietearth
Rating: 7 out of 10
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Key Characters:
Paul (Christopher Masterson)
Jenny (Lyndsy Fonseca)
Vladimir (Clayton Landey)
Detective Kopf (David DeLuise)
Detective Rees (Richard Riehle)

Set against the backdrop of the McCarthy era, young Paul is a famous inventor by the age of 18. Unfortunately for him he is also very naive, and people take advantage. Seeking to restore his good name, status, and financial situation he sets out on a new project in a new locale, descending slowly into madness. Paul becomes convinced that he is being spied on and that everyone wants to steal his latest invention, The Cube, including his own Government.

The Story:
The movie starts out with a great quote from McCarthy: "McCarthyism is Americanism with its sleeves rolled." Cut to a film studio on the eve of his 18th birthday, Paul is accepting a check from the young inventor's association. Standing next to him is ex-Russian patriate and mentor, Vladimir Koslov. Paul gives a little speech, and the show is quickly over. Paul's father asks for and receieves the check, and that's the last time he is seen.

His mother gets some sort of disease, most likely cancer, and Paul has to use the dwindling family funds to help her. Finally he resorts to trying to sell his patents, but finds out either his father has already done so, or the inventor's association owns them. By now it is too late, his mother dies and Paul is left alone and broke, having sold the house. He tries to get a loan from the bank, but is solidly rebuked after showing no plan for his inventions, fearing they will be stolen. Paranoia is already starting to build, so Paul decides to borrow from the Mob then conveniently skips own at collection time.

The Rating:
First off, I and everyone else who had seen the trailer for this movie was wary of the Malcolm in the Middle factor, and it did present a problem. Christopher (Paul) played an over exaggerated stereotypical "nerd", complete with lisp bordering on cleft palate, gimpy walk, and social dysfunction. At times it was hard to get past this yes.. but putting it aside let me tell you about the film itself.

It was brilliant! Writer/Director Nick Peterson did a magnificent job, in fact the whole team did. The cinematography, the period pieces and mannerisms were very well done. In fact there were some "temporal" issues with the technology used in the film, but they were seamless. This was kind of like a mixture of noir/sci-fi/Dostoevsky and it is in no way retina-burning like the trailer. I'm betting that based on the content of the DVD that a lot of scientific and metaphysical meandering was cut, which is really too bad. I would love to see a director's version of this. I give it a 7 out of 10, and I am looking forward to seeing more work from Peterson. Rarely do I watch movies more then once.. this'll be getting another view.

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