Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Screen Review 5. After the Dark

Movie: After the Dark
Director: John Huddles
Runtime: 1h 47m
Release Date: October 10th, 2013
Stars:  James D'Arcy, Sophie Lowe, Daryl Sabara
Rated: R

Synopsis: At an international school in Jakarta, a philosophy teacher challenges his class of twenty graduating seniors to choose which ten of them would take shelter underground and reboot the human race in the event of a nuclear apocalypse.

★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

"If with incinerated grace, we still become the human race."

This movie has a 77% on Rotten Tomatoes, and honestly, I just don't get it. Now, you can point fingers at me and say that the movie "is too smart for me," but honestly, the film had a lot of strange logic that, when you sit and think about it for more than two seconds, doesn't make any sense.

I won't say this wasn't a fun movie though. This was a very fun movie, for me. I watched it with two of my friends, and we debated the logic, argued about the choices, and theorized what the characters' next moves would be. In that way, I can see why some people thought this film was smart, because it prompted a lot of thinking on my part. However, most of this thinking was prompted by the fact that none of the characters were making rational decisions.

I felt a little misled towards the beginning, but the premise turned out fine. Going in (and this is probably my fault), I thought the movie was going to be about people in end-of-the-world simulations, but it turns out the movie is just a visualization of a conversation they're having, so it's all hypothetical (and thus a lot more level-headed than people would actually be during the apocalypse). Each kid in a high school class is given a hypothetical skill set, and they have to decide who would hypothetically get into a hypothetical bunker and hypothetically survive the hypothetical atomic apocalypse. Hypothetically.

This turned out to be an interesting idea. The shots shifted between the real-life classroom and the hypothetical bunker pretty seamlessly, and I never got confused about what was going on. There were some thought-provoking scenarios brought up as well, and it was visually quite pretty.

This did not overshadow the movie's flaws, however. Mostly, as a logical person, I was mad with the insane gaps in the characters' logic when trying to decide who to take into the bunker. Some of the greatest gems of "that's not how it works" include:
          - Saying that a gay man would, on principle, not donate sperm to a woman even if they were LITERALLY TWO OF THE LAST PEOPLE ON EARTH AND IT WAS THE ONLY WAY TO SAVE THE HUMAN RACE because he's not attracted to her
          - Knowing how to speak, write, and understand 7 languages is useless if you're mute
          - Astronauts, once on earth, have no useful skills
          - Electrical engineers and electricians have identical skill sets
          - Being able to build a table is a more important skill than being able to sire children in your "time to restart humanity" bunker
          - All soldiers are innately violent, and have no skills outside of combat

Also, for some reason, the main character seemed really upset about philosophy? She's the top philosophy student, but insisted that she would not take part in a discussion that involved death or murder. Isn't that most of philosophy? What did she expect, signing up for this class? How did she get through a whole philosophy course without talking about the moral implications of killing/letting someone die until the last day?

Also the professor is a creepy, rapey asshole.

I would have enjoyed this movie a lot less if my friends weren't there. I probably still would have given it two stars, but pointing out plot holes and debating choices with my friends made the experience a lot better, so if you're going to pick it up, I suggest you do that as well.

Also, glad to see the kid who played Juni in "Spy Kids" is still getting work.

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