With the circumstances we have faced for over a year with this damned pandemic and forced to live in forms of isolation, our world has, at times, mirrored many cinematic happenings such as The Last Man on Earth or its reboots The Omega Man and I Am Legend with its desolate byways and thinning throngs of humanity sans the nocturnal activities of the infected, undead vampires. Even though our vaccination efforts are moving along and there is hope of some type of normalcy returning in the near future, the dystopian despair still lingers.
K (Johann Myers) and Z (Géza Röhrig) are garbage men in a crumbling city of the future who drive a large truck around to pick up a different type of trash in the form of humans who have perished in this desolate and depressing landscape. As they load dead bodies in the back of their truck, they tell tales of various types.
The first tale consists of Ron (Michael Gould) and his wife Ruth (Hayley Carmichael) whose cold and stale existence is interrupted by a visit from Harry (Ned Dennehy), a stranger who lives on the eleventh floor of the apartment complex and has locked himself out. He is taken in by Ron and Ruth and as the days go by, Harry becomes friendly with Ruth. As their relationship takes hold, a wedge is driven between the married couple with it resulting in Harry and Ruth sleeping together. Ron, alienated and alone, decides to do some sleuthing with the end result of the eleventh floor being under construction with no apartments to be had.
As the first story ends in a bloody aftermath, thus begins the second story where Octavius (Kahlid Abdalla) tells his daughter Horatia (Maddison Whelan) a bedtime story of Hans (Eric Godon), a greedy and distrustful merchant manages to steal blueprints for a lucrative idea from a Foreigner (Jan Bijvoet). The Foreigner figures out what Hans has done and kidnaps Hans’ daughter Maria (Tanya Reynolds). Hans and Maria’s boyfriend and ne’er do well Johann (Tadhg Murphy) desperately hunt down her daughter at a house of the Foreigner’s own choosing. As Hans and Johann search the house for Maria, they open a door that takes them into the dystopian land where K and Z reside. K and Z accost them and beat Hans to death so they can sell him for meat. They sell Johann into slavery where he is worked to death in a labor camp. As the rest of the laborers continue to work in ungodly conditions, the film focuses on one of the men.
This focus forms the final story of Domenic (Adrian Rawlins), a middling and somewhat successful engineer at a generic company who lives with his wife Rachel (Kate Dickie) and his son Will (Jonathan Case). Their world is disrupted when Rachel’s estranged husband Sam (Sam Louwyck), who seems to have escaped from the labor camp, returns to their home. Rachel, who still has feelings for Sam, tries her best to rehabilitate the PTSD riddled. empty shell of her former husband much to the resentment of Domenic. Angered by this betrayal and hurt over Rachel’s doting on Sam and her contempt directed at Domenic’s behavior, Domenic finds his family, job, and life falling down around him.
Written and directed by Chino Moya, Mr. Moya crafts and helms an anthology of the bizarre that recalls such films as Brazil and Dark City spiced with the grit of Children of Men. With wonderful cinematography by David Raedeker coupled with stunning art direction by Nikola Bercek, they perform with shots and creativity, a barren landscape of the future that mirrors Mr. Moya’s tales of isolation and despair. While this film is not horror, it has a foreboding science fiction flavor that comes in various and unpredictable waves where you’re never sure what comes next.
The performances throughout each story are excellent. Ned Dennehy is terrific as the edgy and unpredictable stranger Harry. Eric Godon performance as the greedy and self-centered Hans is wonderful as someone to despise along with the eccentric and jarring effort by Jan Bijvoet as the inventive and creepy Foreigner. Kate Dickie shines as Rachel whose character ranges from the frightened to unnervingly contemptable is played to delightful effect.
If you’re the type who enjoys dystopian tales that strangely blend together in a subtle way, have artistic, gritty expressionist landscapes, and have unpredictable storylines bordering on near insanity and heavy depression, then you must watch this piece of futuristic end-of-days anthology. Mr. Moya’s vision and images alone with stay with you for days.
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