Viewed – 30 October 2011 Blu-ray
I went into this fairly blind, having heard it was one of the more memorable movies of late 2010 / early 2011, but not knowing much else. What transpires here is a very heart-felt drama following two people, the one a cynical photo journalist (Scoot McNairy), the other a young female tourist (Whitney Able). Together they must traverse South America and Mexico, quarantined following an alien invasion six years previous, in order to get back home.
Shot with a fly on the wall documentary style, this is a very realistic take on what it would be like in an infected, alien-infested danger zone. The wealth of believable characters and settings helped to draw me in, and although I wasn’t sure what kind of movie this was at first, the story of two strangers forming a bond, really affected me. For such a subject as alien invasion, I was astounded by the maturity and emotion on display. The story mainly focuses on its two leads, who give very real performances, and I found myself really caring about them. At times it reminded me of District 9, Cloverfield and even Lost In Translation, which may sound a bizarre combination, but believe me … it works. The movie is also awash with some gorgeous cinematography that shows off the South American landscapes and history beautifully.
Things took a little while to get going, and I did find my mind wandering initially, and as a movie about alien invasion, it was a surprise just how little alien action there was, apart from near the end, which pretty much makes up for any shortcomings in a stunningly tense sequence. I will applaud director Gareth Edwards though, for not going down the usual road with this, and offering up something we’ve rarely seen before in the genre, that of a very real human story, that just happens to involve aliens too.
A very nice surprise.
Verdict: 4 /5