Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Quiet Earth (1985)-Review by Gavin Jennings

Hello People,
Another great review from the man Gavin Jnnings,The quiet earth,which i must admit i have not seen myself,but looks pretty good!
So thanks again Big Man Gav!
Jonny T.
The Quiet Earth (1985)

Hi guys, I am currently in the midst of a stomach bug that has kept me off work for a few days. In between frequent trips to the bathroom and the excitement of daytime television I have the opportunity to present you with my latest offering earlier than expected. I hope you enjoy this brief look at one of ‘Down Unders’ lesser known post-apocalyptic movies.

Imagine you wake up one morning and you are totally alone. Your neighbours are suspiciously quiet for a change, and there are no dogs barking or birds singing in the trees. Pans are left boiling on stoves and cars are left abandoned in the streets all over the town. Mysteriously, empty planes have dropped from the sky and the inferno that surrounds the wreckage burns uncontrollably in the absence of fire crews. Nobody answers your calls for help and the Police are nowhere to be found. It’s as if all life on Earth has vanished in an instant. What would you do? Zac Hobson, a self-centred scientist working on an experiment for global energy, finds himself in this predicament in this rarely seen sc-fi classic from New Zealand. Made on a shoe string budget in the mid 1980’s the film is immediately recognisable to the far more recent hits 28 days later and I am legend. The similarities end there though as The Quiet Earth isn’t as quick to introduce monsters or fast moving zombies as its protagonists. Instead the film concentrates on mankind’s frailty and the damage that we are causing by meddling with science.

Zac is quick to realise that the company he works for is responsible for the disaster and driven by guilt and loneliness soon descends into temporary madness. Wearing a dress and armed with a shotgun he surrounds himself with cardboard cut outs of famous historical figures and appoints himself as leader of the new world. On the verge of suicide he cleans up his act and comes across a lonely young woman by chance. Immediately he is attracted to Joanne and welcomes the companionship and brief romance that follows. Zac’s new found happiness is short lived however with the arrival of Api, a third survivor. He is younger, stronger, and better looking than Zac who is immediately suspicious and threatened by Api’s presence. Zac’s fears are realised when Joanne is drawn to the stranger and a love triangle develops.

The film adopts a slightly different tone in the second half which isn’t quite as enjoyable as watching Zac act out his darker inhibitions. As he delves deeper into his research Zac discovers that the initial event was actually the start of a chain reaction giving way to some cheap but truly psychedelic sequences that really stretched the $1 million dollar budget. The strain builds on the trio as the fabric of the Universe continues to unravel. Knowing that he has to share his dark secret with the others Zac discovers an opportunity to ultimately redeem himself for his involvement in ‘Project Flashlight’ and sets a plan in motion that leads to an explosive if somewhat confusing climax.

The ending is something of a wonder to most people who watch the movie. I have read a stream of reviews from fans of the movie on imdb and whilst most people have their own opinion of what the film means most agree that the Quiet Earth is fantastic. It has a very respectable 7.1 out of 10 rating which is quite an achievement for a director whose other credits include Free Jack, Under Siege 2, Fortress 2 and Young Guns 2 - Blaze of Glory! A lot of the Quiet Earth’s success is down to the superb script which manages to excite and entertain with a minimal cast and without an ounce of cheese or schlock that Hollywood likes so much. It was co-written by Bruce Lawrence, who plays Zac so brilliantly throughout the film. It’s a shame that he didn’t get a chance to write much else, after being diagnosed with lung cancer he passed away in 1995. Credit is also due to producer and co-writer Sam Pillsbury. As a testament to The Quiet Earth’s positivity an aspiring film-maker friend of mine was motivated to write an entirely new script after just one viewing of the movie. He sent his work to Sam Pillsbury, who had expressed an interest in making a new Quiet Earth project. In return he received some very positive feedback directly from Sam but weather anything comes from it remains to be seen. In the mean time I urge you to track down a copy of The Quiet Earth and experience it for yourself. Whatever you do avoid watching the trailer on the internet as it completely destroys any reason to watch the film in the first place... I’ve already done that for you here!
Gavin Jennings.

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