Saturday, January 27, 2018

Sundance with Abe: I Think We’re Alone Now

I’m thrilled to be attending and covering the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah for the fifth time. I’m seeing as many movies as I can each day and will post reviews of each as I can.

I Think We’re Alone Now
Directed by Reed Morano
U.S. Dramatic Competition

There are a lot of films about the end of the world, or at least the demise of humanity. How or why it happens varies, but it doesn’t seem that, in our fictional film future, things are looking bright for homo sapiens. The scale and scope of such films depends entirely on the premise, and sometimes the most effective exercises are those that follow just one or two survivors in a desolate landscape, trying to stay active and keep busy in a lonely universe not likely to become populated again anytime soon.

Del (Peter Dinklage) spends his days walking through his town and cleaning out the houses of the residents whose bodies have decayed inside, taking with him a photo from each home and painting a large white X outside each to keep track of his work. He retreats to the library where he used to work each night to maintain some sense of order, a ritual practice that is disrupted when Grace (Elle Fanning) arrives. His new companion is chatty and curious, looking for a friend in a world greatly lacking in company, pushing him to open up and let her in so that they can continue his work together.

It’s no surprise that Reed Morano, who recently won an Emmy for director the pilot of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” another dark dystopia, would be interested in this subject. Rather than involve a sadistic society based on the superiority of one gender, this quiet world features just two people who, for reasons unknown to them, have survived when everyone else around them is gone. It’s not even a matter of making sense of what’s happened, but instead finding a way to go on and stay occupied. These are two people who would never have crossed paths in any other scenario, but as the only two people in the same place, they’re forced to build a relationship.

Dinklage is back at Sundance this year after starring in “Rememory” last year, and it’s good to say that the “Game of Thrones” standout is busy with quality independent film work. Del feels like his own person, less talkative than most Dinklage characters and equally compelling. The same is true for Fanning, who seems to be in so many films playing mature roles, and their pairing is great. Not all that much happens in this meditative film, but it manages to be an involving and contemplative experience nonetheless, painting one picture of what might become of us in the near future.


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