My Rating: 3 stars
I’ve always been a fan of a closed-room drama. It requires an author to be extra innovative in order to create a compelling story when there aren’t many opportunities for outside elements to influence a story line. Plus, these things are usually pretty affordable to shoot. Drama usually comes in the form of tension between the characters. And, there are plenty of options for creating that tension. It can come in the form of a secret that one character knows and the others don’t. Or, it could be a mystery that all the characters are trying to solve together. And, it can come in the form of a danger that the characters must work together to escape. In this film, the screenwriter didn’t seem to be able to choose just one these options. He threw all of them in the pot, possibly hoping that at least one would pan out. And, the result is a plot that isn’t quite as strong as it would have been if he’d stuck to just one and fleshed it out a little more fully. But, the movie is still enjoyable nonetheless.
The movie is a post-apocalyptic, closed-room thriller. The air out in the world has been thoroughly poisoned by some sort of unnamed disaster. So, the majority of the country’s population have been put into suspended animation in underground bunkers until nature can correct itself. But, someone has to keep an eye on the situation. Someone has to make sure that the sleepers are doing well, and periodically check the toxicity levels of the outside air. So two technicians, Norman Reedus and Djimon Hounsou, are woken up from their hypersleep for a few hours every six months or so to tend to the dials and levers. But, even this grows tiresome. The men have lost track of how many shifts they’ve worked, and they really don’t even know how long they’ve been sleeping when all added up. All they know is that every time they wake up to tend to the filters, no progress has been made. The poison outside isn’t clearing up at all, and it doesn’t look like they’re in any danger of it happening any time soon. The seeming futility of their jobs, combined with the pressure of being responsible for so many lives, gradually sinks in, and the men start to go a little crazy. As would we all. But the screenwriter Christian Cantamessa does try to include a few too many little subplots. A simple story of slowly going crazy in an underground bunker seems like enough to me. But Cantamessa weakens that strong idea with a few extra offshoots of intrigue. But it isn’t enough to ruin the story.
This is a pretty interesting, little film. I think that anyone who enjoys a good post-apocalyptic thriller will like this one. The small scale of the setting allows us to focus on the more personal levels of stress that this kind of situation would cause. And, that can sometimes be just as compelling as a huge, open-world drama. It’s not the best execution of the genre I’ve ever come across, but it’s good enough that I feel comfortable recommending this one.