Narcopolis full movie review - Carefully crafted, Technically sound, Drama-centric Science Fiction Thriller... Rewatchability: Moderate Blu-ray: Very Good A:10 V:9
55 out of 93...?
Seriously, did I do THAT badly...?
This is a very different, character driven type of Science Fiction film. In the reviews that I read before watching this, they threw around terms like "A cross between 'BLADE RUNNER'" and other Dystopian Sci Fi films, but that is not altogether quite true. I listened to the director's commentary, so I was able to gain a lot of insight into what he was trying to do and what his focus was in making this film. What I got from this is that he was HEAVILY focusing on the Dramatic elements of the characters more than anything else. Not to say that the Science Fiction elements are not good too, but that is not really the true focus of the film (it IS in the sense that the ultimate revelation in the story is primarily Sci Fi oriented, but the main thrust of the film along the way is not)
Clearly, the director and everyone involved poured their hearts into the making of this film. The performances are quite good. It's an interesting touch that the boy and the Mother in the film are in actuality the wife and son of the director. The boy is particularly good in his role, and although not really having much experience in heavy duty acting, he really did an outstanding job, especially in his scenes with his screen Dad.
The cinematography was also very good with some nice shots of futuristic looking buildings from different countries in contrast with some rather stark UK interior shots. Apparently, they had VERY little money to work with, but considering that, I thought they did a very good job of putting this movie together. The editing and pacing are good. I particularly liked the sound design. I thought that it fit the scenes really well with a nice mix of Industrial sounds and moody backgrounds that were quite effective.
The director mentions in his commentary that he deliberately left the last act and ending rather ambiguous, which is fine. I don't mind ambiguous endings at all. BUT... and this is just my own lowly and wretched opinion... I probably would have rather seen him kind of 'Punch up' the Sci Fi aspect of the story a little more, instead of weighting it so heavily towards Drama. Don't get me wrong, the characterizations and interactions with his family were done really well. It just seems to me personally that if you have a real [email protected] concept, then it would have been nice to have a BIT more of that [email protected] on the Sci Fi part of the story and film, rather than leaving it QUITE so vague and ambiguous. In other words, I don't mind an 'Up in the air' ending at all, BUT... being a real avid Lover of Science Fiction, I would've liked to have seen a more powerful Science Fiction element in the outworking of the story which I feel would've given more weight to it's resolution and would have hit home more effectively. Not giving anything away, but I really DID like the very last scene and felt that that was a great way to leave it, BUT, I would have liked seeing a bit more of an effective 'Punch' leading up to it. A good example of what I mean is the excellent French film 'CHRYSALIS' (2007) which was more of a slightly Science Fiction flavoured Futuristic Crime Thriller, but I felt that the Sci Fi elements in that movie were more effective than in this film.
So, going into this movie, I would say that if you are expecting a really HUGE, epic Sci Fi Blockbuster (like the Awesome 'BLADE RUNNER') this movie isn't about that. The look, cinematography, and style are very nicely done, but the Sci Fi elements are very downplayed and low-key. So, you might not get quite as worked up as you would for other Science Fiction films, since this one is more concept and character driven. BUT... with that said, when the Sci Fi part of the story kicks in about half way through, although a bit vague and maybe not quite as realized as it could be, still, the concept and story are quite intriguing and the film definitely DOES leave the audience wondering and asking themselves what the hell is going to happen next...
I gave it a '7', which is maybe a LITTLE generous, but that's because I felt that, generally as a MOVIE, it was put together well. However, purely as a Science Fiction film, though, I would probably give it a bit more towards a '6'...