Yes, I know this is a bit old – I believe the movie came out last winter – but I have to admit that I did not see it until just now. Not that I hadn’t heard great things about it and thought that I certainly should see it, but let’s face it – it’s sometimes hard to come home at the end of the day and think: “you know, what I’m really in the mood for right now is a brutally dark, apocalyptic movie about the world falling to pieces.”
I guess there was a bit of reluctance there somehow…
In any case, my boyfriend finally made me actually put it in the DVD player and press play. And now that I’ve seen it, I can say it was… a brutally dark, apocalyptic movie about the world falling to pieces.
Critics, and English professors, often talk about a story starting in medias res – right in the middle of the story, where there’s no formal beginning, no “once upon a time…” More of a “She saw the frog and decided it might not be a bad idea to kiss it” and the story kicks off from there.
Well, this movie is the very definition of in medias res, it starts right in the thick of things. The world is already in full-blown self-destruct mode and Clive Owen’s character Theo already has a whole long history behind him, particularly a history with Julianne Moore’s government rebel and Michael Caine’s good-hearted hippie, which is never fully revealed. There are no real flashbacks, almost no exposition sections; the characters are just there, and you can make out people’s motivations and how they got to the point where they are now however you want.
The story itself captures a brief moment in time – only about a day in Theo’s life, where he undertakes the most important task of his life – and it’s gone before you know it. It takes place in a war zone in the future, the world fighting for some idea of hope with the ability to produce children no longer an option, and some people die brutally and suddenly and others do horrible, horrible things.
But then it’s over, and, for me at least, an almost empty sensation remains. You saw something, and it was powerful and intense, but it was almost a grazing blow, the impact of an explosion without feeling its heat. With barely any background information or additional connections to the characters, you’re almost left wondering who or what you just saw and how you should feel.
But perhaps that’s the point. In a world where there is no future, no possible future for the human race, and there is only a superficial order maintained by a military state, would you be left with any feeling? Would you feel heat at all?