Thursday, July 16, 2015
Written & Directed By: Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig (The Spierig Brothers)
Based On A Story “ALL YOU ZOMBIES” By: Robert A. Heinlein
Cinematography By: Ben Nott
Editor: Matt Villa
Music By: Peter Spierig
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor, Christopher Kirby, Christopher Sommers
Whoa, where did this film come from. I had heard somewhat about it and seen some pictures from it and thought it another straight to dvd, B-Movie with a Sci-Fi element. Boy was I wrong this movie started a bit slow, but as it went on knocked me out of my socks. I wish it was original, But it is actually based on the Robert A. Heinlein, Short story
This is another film that is better to go in blind to watching as half the enjoyment is discovering the different elements throughout and letting yourself be surprised by the developments.
This is The first Spierig brothers film in 5 years following DAYBREAKERS which followed a 6 year gap between their first film UNDEAD.
I have to say so far this is the Spierig brothers best film to say that I have seen. As usual they are great at building worlds and atmosphere with so little. That usually she to do with an alternative history of the world and civilizations changed just enough so their premises can work and even thought the stories take place in limited space and locations they manage to make them seem so much bigger. They are stylists, but here work with a overlapping story that is amazing in itself and luckily lends itself to their style.
The film is really a time travel and sci-fi tale above all else, but while it involves all of that it manages to tell a dramatic story at it's core, that is heartbreaking. It could be a seperate film itself, but they smartly use the story and it's elements fit perfectly into the grand scale of time travel.
During the first half of the film it stays more grounded. Almost a period piece before it changes gears for the more actually n packed second half.
The film manages to stay surprising even though every so often the t appear to be giving a hint or an obvious clue to the audience. We still have no idea what we are in for once all is truly revealed.
The film stays inventive and fun throughout. It never get repetitive, nor boring. In fact it always stays inventive even when all is revealed. That might be why it stays fun as it is a mystery, but never presented as one. So as an audience you just desire a conclusion to fill in all the missing pieces. Though you come to realize those missing pieces are what are the clues to the mystery that lies at the heart of the film.
The Spierig brothers seem to be the best thing to happen to Ethan Hawke since director Richard link later: even though he is a successful actor. It seems the Spierig’s keep hiring him and put him in more genre type films. Where he usually excels with the material as well as when he seems to work with directors he knows or trusts seems to be a bit more relaxed in his performances
Actress Sarah Snook is a real scene-stealer here in a star making role. That requires sensitivity and a lot of special effects make-up she always stays believable and no matter what helps us to feel her pain and sorrow as well as her surprises. She is a Emma Stone lookalike only more mature and doesn’t come off as so silly.
She is like is to a certain degree learning more and more as the film goes on. Even though she is a participant and for the first half the storyteller.
This is a smart film that might take a second viewing to understand it all or at least make sense of certain details.
The film constantly enchants while keeping you on your toes. What truly impresses is how much seems to be able to have been done with so little.
While there are plenty of special effects they don't complicate or overpower the story. Or the film as they are quite impressive but stay in Their place and are used only when necessary.
The film has certain elements of the television show QUANTAM LEAP and some inspirations from the film DEJA VU, but manages to keep it's own off center identity. Which is really the matter at the heart of this film anyway.
The film also seems lost in another time period as the Spierig brothers always seem to prefer classic fashions of the 1940's and 50'a fedoras, suits glasses, trench coats. Gloves, dress, hairstyles that was evident in their previous movie DAYBREAKERS and is on display here. Even if they try to be a bit more hip and include some early 70's fashions.
Time travel films can be tricky to make and have all the right elements come together and make sense. While this film involves some of the science and for the ending on it to make some sense. The film works within it's own elements to stay believable and be human with the characters. Rather than them revolve around the premise and be more or less place holders.
As the ending is more or less believable. It is interesting how we get there and also it feels like an ending the film deserves. Rather than copping out or falling apart.
The film is rich in the history of it's characters that it feels like two films mixed together as it is a drama with sci-fi elements, but also a sci-if film with dramatic elements with a story. That needs the drama to show the importance of it. The film reminds me of CLOUD ATLAS by the Wachowski' and Tom Twyker it reminds me of what that film seemed to try and accomplish. Though this film accomplishes more as it doesn't seem a gimmick nor is it as crowded as that film. If not for the Sci- Fi element. This film could have fit in as one of the stories.
When John Doe sits down at the manual typewriter for the first time, beside the typewriter there is a copy of "Stranger in a Strange Land " by Robert Heinlein, who is the author of the original short story, All You Zombies, on which the screenplay for the film is based. An additional Heinlein reference - when John is at the store purchasing the typewriter, the saleswoman is holding "the moon is a harsh mistress" - also a Heinlein story.
The film send to say that though we have free will. There is a certain plan that has already been set up. Nothing necessarily is left to chance. Fate Always has a way of getting it's way
This film is a hidden gem that deserves to be discovered. It might be considered to small a production to make it in mainstream movie house distribution, but the film is smart, entertaining and has heart. Hopefully it will gain the audience it deserves.