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quietearth [Celluloid 10.22.08] post apocalyptic movie review

Year: 2008
Release date: Unknown
Director: John R. Hand
Writers: John R. Hand
Trailer: link
Review by: quietearth
Rating: N/A

First off, let me tell you that John R. Hand is incredibly well rounded and talented: He wrote, directed, produced, edited, and shot the entire film. The photography is spectacular, the storyline, while hampered by budget, was so visionary, I know that if he had a budget and a good producer behind him he could make a masterpiece. But unfortunately, with all this good comes a very large helping of cryptic confusion, so much so that I actually watched the film twice to try and figure out what was happening.

Let me start with a basic plot outline: 200 years in the future, a man(Paul) is trying to come to grips with his mother and the world around him. While this seems simple, the film is anything but. The mother situation presents some serious Freudian difficulties as her role seems to be quasi-romantic at points. She was really the only person he knew while growing up, living outside a village we never get to see and is only vaguely referred to at one point.

Besides this guessed difficulty, his mother is starting to suffer from some disease which eventually causes scarring over the body, mental deterioration, but apparently has the side effect of letting you live a very long time. She hides in an abandoned building by herself, supposedly drinking, and waiting for Paul to show up. She wants him to say, but he can't. He's disgusted, and this is just the beginning of the film.

Paul spends most of his time in his room, the walls decorated with a plastic sheet, reading or listening to some very distorted recordings which are reminiscent of THX-1138. A friend visits him about certain matters, but this subject and every other one from the entire film is never explored. Nothing on why the world is post apocalyptic, or why the people with the scars. We are left hanging by every single thread in the film. So how does he fill the time you wonder?

With dream sequences, memories, brooding, contemplation, exploration, all with the total sum of I'm still trying to figure out what it means. When I asked John if I was missing something, he replied that he likes films which lean toward the more purely visual, and I have to agree, this film has that. The camera work is excellent, at one point the world shrouded in red and Paul is lying on the ground and the sea slowly juxtaposes over him, till his head and hands disappear in the calm waves. Brilliant.

But for all this, and even with John's clear talent, the film still lacks a story and has some other issues, mainly some poor acting at points and some shoddy ADR, although the music realization done by The Greys was fantastic. I would have to label this as experimental and would recommend only the adventurous to watch it. On a more positive note, I think John has a very bright career ahead of him so someone give him some money!

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