Coming to theatres and VOD from director John Huddles and Phase 4 Films comes a tale of what is possible AFTER THE DARK.
This film tells the story of a group of international students who are studying in a school in Jakarta. Led by Professor Zimit (James D’Arcy), his class includes couple Jack (Freddie Stroma) and Petra (Sophie Lowe), Georgina (Bonnie Wright), Beatrice (Maia Mitchell), Bonnie (Katie Findlay), Chips (Daryl Sabara), James (Rhys Wakefield), Vivian (Erin Moriarty), Parker (Jacob Artist), Utami (Cinta Kiehl), Andy (George Blagden), Omosede (Hope Wilson), Poppie (Philippa Coulthard) and Russell (Toby Sebastian).
On the last day of class, Zimit decides that he is going to test his young intelligencia with a dooms day scenario and all must comply. When Petra decides she doesn’t like the test and tries to leave, the professor lets it be made known that everyone’s grade is at stake if they don’t.
It quickly begins as each pulls an occupation from a box provided and the scenario is put to them all. Atomic weapons have been released and there are 21 people left in the area. There is one fall out shelter especially built to last one year with enough food, supplies and good living to sustain life. The hitch? That only ten people can fit in the shelter.
Now the game begins, as the students must decide who is worthy of saving based on what they can bring to the table of survival. They must think outside the box and sacrifice someone else in order to survive.
Who will live and who will die is all in the mind!
FINAL WORD: D’Arcy as Professor Zimit can be considered either brilliant or a mad man. That, of course, is left up to the viewer. D’Arcy brings the students together whether they like it or not and force situations that have so many scenarios, even with the curve he constantly throws them. He is a man with a purpose and it isn’t necessarily for the benefit of his students.
Stroma as Jack comes off as a guy lucky to be in the school at all. His laid-back attitude does give other students pause but nowhere is it written that laid-back translates into stupid. The final confrontation with Zimit is one I waited for the entire film!
Lowe as Petra is clearly the ‘smartest’ in the class. She manages to keep her cool throughout the scenarios and lets each one sink in. The last is the most amazing to me because it was based so differently and unexpectedly on moving further past what a persons career is and who they are as human beings. I have to say that was my favorite part of it all. Lowe brings a calmness and a quiet introspection in her character – well done!
Wright as Georgina has grown past Ginny Weasley in this film! Her character is a highly intelligent and doesn’t much like being made a fool of. Never one to cut corners or let emotions speak for her, Wright portrays this character as straight forward, no nonsense woman with reason for every decision she makes. I truly enjoyed watching Wright in this role.
The cast here each has a definite character that is so well done and so thought out that I would never be able to choose ten from the group. Watching each scenario play out I tried to jump ahead of the film wondering if someone couldn’t find a way to save them all!
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give AFTER THE DARK four tubs of popcorn out of five. This is such an intricate film with so many choices and none of which I’d want to have to make. Listening to the choice process, the change of thought process as the film goes along and the eventual scenario just wow’d me.
The cinematography is so well done and the special affects, although sharp, are also surreal. Director Huddle fades from classroom to enter into the fall out shelter with such ease. The cast does so as well going from discussion to ‘living’ the scenario.
The whole idea of the film is genuinely unique that I honestly can’t find anything I don’t like about it. Forcing the viewer to contemplate the ideas of right and wrong, the audience takes it out of the theatre and continues the conversation after the film has ended. There is, quite honestly, no easy answer but debating the film may be a conversation worth having.
In the end – what is good for the survival of humanity is on the line.