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Ben Austwick [Film Festival 05.18.10] Australia movie review scifi dystopic

Year: 2009
Directors: Nathan Christoffel
Writers: Nathan Christoffel
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Ben austwick
Rating: 5 out of 10

Despite a low budget, Eraser Children is at times a stylish film of visual flare, and certainly can't be accused of not trying. But with a poor script, poor cast and practically nothing at its heart, its promising style and hyperactive approach is wasted on an empty, meaningless film.

It's a little difficult to decipher what's going on in this confusing and badly written movie, but there's no doubt where it gets its ideas: Terry Gilliam's Brazil. The setting is an authoritarian future where office workers talk to each other in bureaucratic jargon ("Regulation 4-210/67898" – weary stuff we’ve heard countless times before), while being casually beaten by the police while they walk down their office corridors, the one funny touch in a film where the camp, theatrical comedy otherwise constantly misfires. Ruled over by a despotic leader called Misner, the populace must pay for dreams, laughs, anything fun, while working to serve him. It's a familiar surrealist, 1984-lite vision of the future that feels very twentieth century.

There is a rebellious underground movement of course, and Finnegan Wright, a nondescript office drone, is dragged into it on a lacklustre quest to kill Misner and transform society. Here we have the bulk of the film, an aimless ramble through a steampunk subterranean world, populated by a bewildering array of badly acted, hammy stage school characters. There's nothing solid to hold your interest as the story slips towards its conclusion, the bulk of the film a dull mess hanging between the beginning and end.

The shame is that our introduction to Eraser Children's world promises some pretty imaginative art direction, as we are played transsexual TV adverts, introduced to a virtual blow job machine and pulled into people's dreams, which are filmed beautifully in a grainy, oversaturated style. The myriad characters dance around each other in close choreography to a decent soundtrack, setting up pretty high expectations once the story begins. That this fails, while the film also slips into a much duller visual style, makes Eraser Children all the more disappointing. But remembering the confused but eager opening sequences at least shows there is some talent involved somewhere, albeit talent that needs to be a bit more picky who it works with.

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rickmcgrath (12 years ago) Reply

hah... sounds dismal!

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