Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Embers (2015)

Number Rolled: 29
Movie Name/Year: Embers (2015)
Tagline: The world without memory.
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi
Length: 86 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Chaotic Good, Papaya Films, Bunker Features
Producer: Mevlut Akkaya, Justin Benoliel, Pawel Bondarowicz, Claire Carré, Lynda Carré, Steve Drypolcher, Dan Fabulich, Karen Fischer, Warren Fischer, Daniel Fries, Richard Giannotti, Andrew Guo, Jason Stevan Hill, Kirsten Kairos, Tomek Kulesza, Nathan Lackie, Marysia Makowska, Nicholas Monsour, Cy Myers, Kacper Sawicki, Hana Shimizu, Daniel Shoenman, Todd Antonio Somodevilla, Charles Spano, Susan Spano, Frank J. Stamler, Lana Valenta, Quinn Wilson, Julian Yap, Eugene Zarakhovsky
Director: Claire Carré
Writer: Claire Carré, Charles Spano
Actors: Jason Ritter, Iva Gocheva, Greta Fernandez, Tucker Smallwood, Karl Glusman, Roberto Cots, Dominique Swain, Matthew Goulish, Silvan Friedman, Derrick Aguis, Nathaniel Andrew, Brandon Bowens, Janice Culver, Ryan Czerwonko, Kirsten Kairos, Arianna Messner, Sundance
Stunt Doubles: None

Blurb from Netflix: Survivors of a global epidemic are left without the ability to create memories, forced to navigate the bleak world by living entirely in the present.

Selina’s Point of View:
This film takes the term ‘living in the present’ to a whole new level. A frightening level.

There were a lot of things that Embers did right.

For the most part, it was a straight drama. Sure, there was a dystopian aspect to it, but the movie didn’t delve into the sci-fi side of things. You never really find out what caused the epidemic that ended life as we know it. Instead, the story is more of an in depth look at the lives of several different people as they simply exist in their new world without memories.

The road taken was definitely one less traveled for this plot. That made it incredibly interesting to watch, even when it got slightly repetitive or the pacing slowed.

Due to the fact that it was a very little-seen plot, it left me looking forward to finding out where it was going and how it was getting there. I couldn’t predict anything because I’d never seen anything like it.

That was the best part. Unfortunately, the ending fell flat.

By the time the story ended, it became clear that there was no real point to anything. What had been building up to have such incredible substance and power to it just died… out of nowhere.

I don’t mind films that leave me guessing. I don’t mind when there are questions left unanswered. Open endings can lead to some of the best debates… and I usually hope that the director or writer never comes out with an answer – not even in an interview. But this ending was more than just open. It gave no hint of any closure. It just left me with a feeling of utter pointlessness.

This film was funded through Kickstarter. So, I have to focus on how I would feel as an investor.

How WOULD I feel? Despite my dislike of ending, I don’t regret watching the rest of it. There were real feels throughout, and a lot of the acting was decent – or better. I’d be proud to have had my name attached as an investor. It wasn’t perfect, but it was still good.

This was Claire Carré’s (Paris Not France, One night with the King, Behind the Smile) full-length feature film debut as a writer/director. And Charles Spano’s (Serving a Life Sentence for Your Viewing Pleasure, Bouncing Cats, God Bless Bloc Party) full-length feature film debut as a writer. You have to keep that in mind.

Quite frankly, I attribute the ending snafu to both the creators being more knowledgeable about documentaries than fiction.

For a first film, Carré and Spano did very well. You can’t expect someone to reach the moon on their first try… and they still managed to get pretty close. I’ve seen debut films from well-known, amazing directors that I wouldn’t have scored as high.

I’m not sure that I would go out of my way to watch this film again, but I WOULD look into other projected by the creators, and I would consider donating.

Cat’s Point of View:
This has been a week for really dark movies. Embers is a bleak glimpse into a dystopian future that, frankly, will haunt me.

I feel that it’s best to just give a heads up that this movie won’t be for everyone. It’s not your typical story arc. In fact, had I not read the Netflix blurb before viewing, I might not have understood what was going on, at least for a bit.

The movie has a weight to it. It’s cerebral, and full of expanses between moments of dialogue. It has sweet moments and moments of brutality – thankfully, the latter isn’t too graphic. Even though this film is a ‘thinker,’ it’s clear that it’s not set up from any elitist point of view. It’s not pretentious in its storytelling endeavor. It is a slow burn, though, and the real horror behind the trappings of this sci-fi tale doesn’t jump out at you. It creeps up until the sense of dread rivals your inner voice asking ‘are we there yet?’

There were moments I was bored to tears – until it hooked me and left me shaken.

Part of that is to the credit of the cast and production team, and the rest is due to my own personal fear.

Consider me triggered.

Memory loss, loss of intellect, and the disappearance of self are terrifying to me. Largely, that is due to the fact that it hits too close to home. I have a medical condition that, while currently stable, could at some random point in the future progress in that direction. The fact I could wake up some future day and suddenly have any number of neurological hurdles is a heavy thought. Imagining the whole world afflicted, is just chilling.

This Kickstarter-funded independent film helmed by the married production team of Claire Carré (Talkers Are No Good Doers, The Quiet One, Sia: Soon We'll Be Found) and Charles Spano (Rock n' Roll Fantasy Camp, Directions, Terry the Claw) is both quietly brilliant and tedious at the same time. 

Since this was Carré’s directorial debut, I wonder if the latter was intentional with the theme of the movie.

I enjoyed most of the cast in their roles. I loved the poignant dynamic between Jason Ritter (About Alex, Gravity Falls, The Meddler) and Iva Gocheva (Charlie, Incognita, Stand Clear of the Closing Doors). Greta Fernandez (Three Days With the Family, The Next Skin, Amar) was relatable in her sense of boredom and futility.  Karl Glusman (Stonewall, The Neon Demon, Nocturnal Animals) filled me with a sense of foreboding uneasiness as he embodied chaos.

While I can certainly appreciate what this movie attempted to accomplish – I am thoroughly grateful to never have to watch it again.

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 81%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 49%
Metascore - 55/100
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.3/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3/5

Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R

P.S. Kickstarter page can be found here.

Movie Trailer:

No comments:

Post a Comment