Friday, April 27, 2012
THE DIVIDE (THE FALLOUT) (2012)
Directed by Xavier Gens
Lauren German - Eva
Michael Biehn - Mickey
Milo Ventimiglia - Josh
Survivors of a nuclear attack are grouped together for days in the basement of their apartment building, where fear and dwindling supplies wear away at their dynamic.
Here we are again with another film festival film. This one by the director of Frontier(s), which cause a little bit of controversy when it came out. The controversy was in part due to the violence in the film, and that certain groups in the film wanted to create a new Aryanian master race by using a young female as breeding stock for their idea. While I haven't seen the film, I have it. But this one caught my attention more due to the cast and the apocalyptic settings. I could bitch that the film never got a wide release here, as it only played on seven screens total last year when it was released in theatres, and the rest of the screenings were at festival screenings.
Even though Michael Biehn is listed as one of the top billed actors, his screen time is less than the other actors in the film. That's not to say that Biehn is terrible in his role of Mickey, in fact it's nice to see Biehn back acting again, even though he does chew the scenery a tad too much, yet this just adds to the paranoia of his character, but makes up for at the end. Lauren German, who has the lead role as Eva, even though her character doesn't talk much in the film she can emote and convey her emotional distress through her eyes. Though German looks like she's bored through most of the film, it just seems as she wishes she was in a different movie. Milo Ventimiglia has the other lead role as Josh. Ventimiglia's performance is more subtle at first then becoming more manic. Yet it's Michael Eklund that steals every scene he's in as there is just something in his performance that is mesmerizing. The one scene that sticks out with Eklund is when he is having his head shaved and you can see that with each stroke of the shaver he's crying over losing his humanity fully and that he has given up. Rosanna Arquette though has the toughest role in the film as her character is shell shocked from losing her daughter and decides that it's better to be taken care of than to be left without and becomes a toy after the group is split and we watch her slowly slip into madness after each passing vulgarity done to her.
Now I'm going to go ahead and ruin some of the film for those that are reading this. Even though the setting from the preview looks sci-fi, there is barely any of it in the film. The film is much more focused on human nature and the fall of man. What I mean by this is that, is that The Divide wants us, as viewers, to see man go from civilized to their base instincts, and what happens when society norms are thrown out. The film takes it time and shows the boredom that plays into being stuck and not being able to go anywhere and how that also plays into the decent into madness that slowly takes hold of people and the paranoia as well. And it's that paranoia that sets the second half of the movie in motion and the true madness of some of the characters kick in. What transpires at this point by Ventimiglia's character is he sets himself up as the warden and enjoys being in control and loves the power it gives him. It's during this time when the true depravity kick in as malnutrition and radiation sickness has taken effect and repetition has given away to mind games and what can be gotten away with. This includes completely breaking a mind where a person just becomes a doll, to a bloody game of truth or dare that ends with a chopped up body. We're treated to watching the survivors break mentally one by one and their behavior becomes more animalistic and the enjoyment some of the characters take from it and the freedom they think it gives.
While Xavier Gens hasn't created a perfect movie, if there truly is such a thing as all films have flaws, he has created a bleak look at what society can become if giving the right, or wrong, circumstances. One of the flaws in the movie is the people in the hazmat suits. They are introduced and we get to see just a sliver of what they are doing, then they are forgotten for the rest of the movie. In it's place we are giving multiple shots of people trying to find stuff to occupy their time by exploring or sleeping. Yes, this gives the audience time to see the characters and what they do, but it also slows the film down more than it should.One of the more disturbing aspects of the film is the sounds design. Throughout the first half of the movie there is always a rumbling going on even when it doesn't sound that way it's always there as if there is a shifting of the earth going on in the background. The softer shifting you only really notice once it's gone as it creates a sense of unease in the second half of the film thanks to the loss of this sound and the shelter the characters are in become more of a tomb than a living area. Even with the flaws in The Divide, Gens didn't shy away from showing a more realistic view of what can be called extreme cabin fever. The film is unapologetic and because of that we get some very powerful performances that become more believable as time goes on.
Exploding oxygen tank makes a body become a nice wall redecorating medium.
Eenie meanie miney moe. Chop a body from head to toe!
Shooting was delayed in part by the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which paralyzed air travel between Europe and North America.
The film was shot in chronological sequence.
The casting of the film changed as Sean Williams Scott and Robert Patrick were both scheduled to star in the film.