Thursday, April 23, 2015

Talking Tribeca: The Survivalist

I’ve had the pleasure this year of screening a number of selections from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which takes place April 15th-26th.

The Survivalist
Directed by Stephen Fingleton
Festival Screenings

One of the defining and almost required elements of any dystopian story about survival is that it must feature few characters, sparse dialogue, and a barren landscape. This film does the first two very well and only modifies the third by having its protagonist do his own growing of food, planting and harvesting to ensure his livelihood. Someone who lives a solitary life needs to make important adjustments when strangers arrive, and one might expect a bit of dynamic transformation. Those are high hopes in this mild-mannered, unenthusiastic film, which sees its unnamed central character adjusting to a nervous life with a wandering woman, Kathryn, and her daughter Milja. Stark shots and quiet time to think only achieve so much, and this film never manages to march forward in a mesmerizing way and get off the ground.

See it or skip it? If you’re really craving a depressing post-apocalyptic trip, go for it.

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