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days of fear and flaying

Of course I like 28 days later, I'm a JG Ballard fan. Let me rephrase that. Danny Boyle is a wimp, happy enough with sudden gore explosions but with no taste for sustained human-on-human damage. He's also a non-genre writer on a genre film. But. It's the first feature length film I've seen that's not just shot with digital video, but actually using it as a medium, exploiting its strengths and weaknesses; eye-watering sunsets, scenes so dim they crawl, scenes blurred or distorted into impr/expressionist chaos throuh digital artifacts, action scenes which have the sickening wrench of the digital film they pipe back from warzones nowadays. It reminded me of almost everything I've seen/read on the subject before, try The city, not long after, The Drought/The Drowned World, Twelve Monkeys, and On the Beach, for starters. But ... no, there's one movie it really reminded me of, but I don't know its name. I watched it once, one of those late night viewings you half-remember. There was an experiment in a laboratory which produced a sort of pulse. After it died down this guy who had been in an accident wakes up to a depopulated world, which he wanders round a lot, and eventually finds this girl, and she'd been trying to commit suicide, and when they find more people they realise the link is that at the time of the pulse they all died, for other reasons. After that there's some very strange stuff, I distinctly remember a scene where he's talking to a lot of cut-outs on a lawn, and there's a scientist, or maybe he was the scientist, and killed in the blast? But anyway, the thing is, the people left know that there's another pulse coming, and this time it will do something worse. The ending makes no sense at all. There's a plan to do something about the experiment, a car-crash, and a beach, and ... and ... damn it, I can't even think of what it might have been called. IMDB?

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B*llocks. I wonder if Empire is still doing What's that film? Hey ho. Anyway, it's a pretty good film, if you like are weirdly fascinated by the idea of the world being twatted by horrible disasters, which I do. Am. Whatever. Except I wish that Selena hadn't been using a machete (In 28 Days later). I understand why she was, but I would have been happier if it had been a (rather more English but no less lethal) billhook instead.

Damian on 28 Days later: all those eyeballs ... where are all the crows? (Which lead to a long discussion of the probable cost of hiring crows, the impeccable performance of the hero crow in one of the scenes, the likelihood that all the crow population was full of eyeballs by then, and how it would have been good if they'd thought to have seagulls eating the bodies as well, and speculation as to whether seagulls cost more than crows. Eyeballs being much on our minds.)

Before that we saw the Turner Prize, and, damn-it, it's a bit good this year. There are crazy god-story machines and weird cartoons, films made using cranes and toy helicopters, huge full-stops you can sit on and a billboard-sized wipe-clean bright pink description of what sounded like actually quite a fine porn flick. There's also a boring one which I suppose will probably win; a rather nice ceiling (but no nicer than any of a dozen you might see in a decent High street/Office complex) plus a very Wallpaper portfolio in a dull glass case. Yaaaaaawn. The Tate Britain's gone a bit strange, actually, since I was last there. I suppose they're feeling the squeeze from the Tate Modern. Which we dropped into to see Marsyas, the Arnish Kapoor sculpture the size of the sky. Named for the flayed faun, sticky dark red and looped around the huge Turbine Hall like a blimp being folded through too many dimensions at once, it's definitely a spectacle, like a mountain or a nearby tower block; too big to really comprehend, and therefore prone to disappearing from your vision in a disorientating way. Combine that with the way the struts seem to pulse in its dim heights, the lack of obvious support, and the uncomfortable sense that it is twisting away from you in pain whichever angle you view it from, the huge enfolding gramaphone mouths and the weak gleams of light knocking around inside it ... it's a strange sight indeed. Strange, and big.


( 10 worms — Feed the birds )
5th Nov, 2002 08:22 (UTC)
You only had to ask
"The Quiet Earth"

Last time I was trying to think of that film's name, someone else in the room was idly flicking through the Radio Times and identified it from the description in that week's film guide, as completely coincidentally it was on TV that week.

5th Nov, 2002 09:01 (UTC)
Re: You only had to ask
Thanks! Now I can add it to Tivo's to-do list (along with Hidden City, which I saw under similar circumstances) to see if it's actually any cop or (as I suspect) actually not.
5th Nov, 2002 12:48 (UTC)
"The quiet earth" I think
Stumbled onto that one on late night TV approximatly a decade ago, wrote it down so that I could get the book it was based on... then never got around to picking it up. I should hunt that puppy down.
5th Nov, 2002 16:27 (UTC)
Quiet Earth it is
I mainly remember the title because the main character's name is ...

Zach Hobson!


5th Nov, 2002 16:34 (UTC)
Re: Quiet Earth it is
Also, not all that 'cop' really. Has entertainment value, especially with our protagonist in dress and shotgun madly arguing with a crucified Jesus - declaring his own divinity iirc; but the overall film is a little flat.

For similarly somewhat-flat acting, 'Cube' was far better.


Bad Taste is infinitely superior to Quiet Earth.


I suppose what I found a little tiresome was QE's attempt to draw some strength as a social comment of the Cold War times ... as if New Zealand would be remotely affected by an Am-Sov nuclear exchange anyway...

On the other hand, I suppose it can be read as a marginal criticism of New Zealand's lockstep support of American warmachine research...


Since we're on Kiwi films, can anyone remember the name of that post-Apocalyptic film that featured ravishing landscapes of South Island ... but involving a 'Battle Wagon' 18-wheeler and a hero-type guy on a dirt motorcycle?
5th Nov, 2002 16:46 (UTC)
Re: Quiet Earth it is
Umm, also, about the ending of Quiet Earth, what I remember is this:

they know about the other pulse coming and/or try to initiate it so they can basically ride it back to their reality.

Then, when our protagonist Zach is left walking the beach in complete solitude, I surmised that he bolloxed that up (again) and is left even worse off then before ... at which point he is *completely* mad. With a fun homage to Planet of the Apes, of sorts.

Also, in case you're wondering, last I saw the film was in 1995 or 1996...and good as my trivia-memory centres are, they may have grown fuzzy.

6th Nov, 2002 02:11 (UTC)
Re: Quiet Earth it is
Warlords of the 21st Century, aka Battletruck?
6th Nov, 2002 00:48 (UTC)
"Quiet Earth"
I'm impressed; a weird/horror film I've not only never seen, but never heard of. It sounds quite spooky, actually, if poorly realised. Sound is so important ito a really good scare. The closest I ever came to running out of a cinema whimering with the fear was-the beginning of ERASERHEAD! It doesn't seem as bad now. Wonder if I've de-sensitised a bit over the years, or do they actually trim that endless 'orrible-noise sequence for TV?
6th Nov, 2002 03:33 (UTC)
Re: "Quiet Earth"
While we're on weird-arse films, try Fresh Kill, a wierd tale of lesbians living with glowing cats in a post-apocalyptic New York contaminated with nucleur waste.
6th Nov, 2002 07:07 (UTC)
Re: "Fresh Kill"
Oh, yes please...Must keep a lookout.
( 10 worms — Feed the birds )