Thursday, September 8, 2011

Film Review--The Quiet Earth

starring Bruno Lawrence, Alison Routledge, Pete Smith, and Drew Brees as The Beav.

An Australian scientist (Lawrence) wakes up to find that he is the only person left on Earth.  As he sets out on a search for any other living soul, he begins to suspect that a project he was helping with may have been the cause of the mass disappearance.  He does eventually find two other people, but can they trust one another to survive let alone determine what happened to the human race?

This is a cautionary tale.  Not so much about Armageddon or an arms race that might bring it about, but a warning for people like me who often inculcate others with the phrase, "What part of 'I hate people' don't you understand?"  Like any stereotypical geek, I'm not one for social interaction and often long for the sort of situation in which this film's protagonist finds himself immersed.  The problem is that before he finally encounters someone else, we watch him gradually go insane.  This is a fascinating statement on human psychology.  No matter how jaded, reclusive, or misanthropic we might feel, we do appear to need interaction with others of our species.  Without it, we seem to grow pensive and rather mad.  The irony here, at least in the case of this movie, is that when we finally do find someone else after prolonged separation, it doesn't take long for us to begin to mistrust them.  This is especially true here where the characters are two males and one female.  Jealousy, competition, and suspicion inevitably result.
This is a somewhat slow moving film, a rarity for a science fiction movie produced at the dawn of the post-Star Wars age.  It is thought provoking and refuses to leave its audience with a pat, Hollywood ending.  In fact I must warn you, the ending might even come off as somewhat confusing as it does not spoon-feed you its meaning.  You are meant to interpolate from what is given and in certain ways determine for yourself what it means.  Mindless entertainment it is not but if you're looking for a film that is both challenging and engaging, The Quiet Earth will not disappoint.

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