sábado, junio 15

survival of the poorest

“Damn, I hate people”declares Amanda Sandford (Julia Roberts) in front of the camera, at the beginning of the World after us. No more than Clay (Ethan Hawke), her husband, a writer lacking inspiration, Amanda cannot claim the title of hope of humanity. And it is the poor quality of this human material that makes the film by Sam Esmail, hitherto known as the creator and director of series (Mister Robot, Back home).

Esmail’s screenplay, adapted quite freely from the novel by Rumaan Alam (Threshold, 2022), allows the film to mutate twice. The social satire, which shows a middle-class Brooklyn couple and their two children (Farrah Mackenzie and Charlie Evans), a little girl obsessed with making it to the final episode of Friends, a teenager obsessed with what teenagers are obsessed with, arriving at the sumptuous house, at the end of Long Island, rented for the weekend, finally accessing the luxury they think they deserve, becomes a thriller. While telephone, television and Internet fail, a father (Mahershala Ali) and his daughter (Myha’la Herrold) ring the doorbell in the middle of the night, presenting themselves as the owners of the place. Amanda’s racist impulses and Clay’s cowardice destroy a first layer of civility.

Antihero Flaws

When the reality of the situation emerges – a massive cyberattack that affects telecommunications as well as transport or energy supply systems – it is no longer civility that is in danger, but all of civilization. The World After Us stands out among apocalyptic films for its insertion into the chronology: Sam Esmail prefers to focus on the moment of change rather than on the efforts of survivors in an already devastated world. No transcendence in the ordeal either. The heroes’ flaws, abundantly exposed in the first part, will not close. The question is only whether our antiheroes will be able to get away with them.

It is up to the actors to answer the question. Julia Roberts is magnificently monstrous, Ethan Hawke pathetic and repulsive, Mahershala Ali hieratic and fragile. Between the bravura pieces (they are successful enough not to list them, all the pleasure is in the novelty and the excellence of the digital special effects), the actors sketch what the world could be like next. According to a magnificent trio between Ali, Hawke and Kevin Bacon, who play a survivalist who has finally been proven right, tomorrow will not be happy.

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