You are absolutely not going to see another film like this one. Bat-shit crazy does not begin to cover it. Yes, it has all the artless film craft that we have come to expect from Mr. Breen. Yes, the acting and dialogue are horrendous. However, it’s the message that really pushes this one beyond the pale. Essentially, it is a call to rise up and start a brand new holocaust, but I am getting ahead of myself.
Even though you may be familiar with the quality of acting in Breen’s films, I just sat through an hour and a half of it and I need to vent. I don’t know how Breen does it, but he manages to get the most wooden and awkward performances out of what appear to be perfectly normal people. It’s possible that some sort of hypnosis or drug is involved, like Rohypnol. There is just no good explanation for the quality of the acting. I've been to my fair share of school plays and community theater productions, but none of it even approaches the blank, stiff words and gestures of Breen’s characters. Heat exhaustion? Stockholm Syndrome? A quick lobotomy in the makeup trailer? It’s a mystery.
The writing doesn’t help. I think Mr. Breen must believe that repeating sentences heightens the drama, but if the repeated lines are delivered in an unchanging monotone, it just sounds bizarre. It feels like we are witnessing some kind of ritual where certain phrases have to be passed around, in order to complete a rite. There is a scene where a group of refugees are complaining to each other, and the camera frames them one by one while they deliver their lines. Here are two snippets.
Then there is this exchange.
When Breen himself is on screen, he has a knack for turning ordinary lines into something that would give David Lynch nightmares. There is a simple scene where he cleans up his trailer so two young women can sleep in it. After throwing everything out the door, he turns to them, smiles, and says, “It’s clean. It’s all clean.” The line sounds innocent enough, but coming from Breen, it just pierces your soul.
The whole film feels kinda Trumpian. Breen visits all these cocktail parties where rich people brag about their corruption. The dialogue is… not the most naturalistic. One woman explains to a small group, “I know senior national elected government officials who I can force my political bias and influence on, fellow politicians, to vote my way. For a pay off, of course.” Besides the line being a grammatical nightmare, I think it might represent what many Trump followers believe. They are convinced that there are evil people behind the scenes that are manipulating everything, and what we need is a crusade to eliminate them, which will then allow the common man to thrive. It’s a Marvel Comics understanding of global politics and economics. The world is bad because there are bad people who do bad things, and what we need is a good guy to do good things.
To further the Trumpian similarities, Breen sends all the refugees back to their home countries. He instructs them to overthrow their corrupt governments and save their unstable countries. Something I’m sure they will do as soon as they get back. Thank’s Mr. White Messiah Man, great idea! At first, it seems like Breen is a space alien who is visiting our planet, then he seems more like a messiah, but it turns out he is an AI program from the future, whatever that means.
So, the holocaust begins and Breen eliminates all the politicians, bankers, lawyers, accountants, insurance agents, judges, newscasters, etc. Then he throws in anyone involved with reality shows for good measure. He kills 300,000,000 people, and then calls for everyone remaining to rise up and revolt. I’m not sure who would be left to revolt against, but he tells everyone to be leaders instead of followers. It sounds good, but with everyone leading and no one following, things might get a little tricky. He continues, “Don’t wait for a failed bureaucratic system to help you. Do it yourself! Take action now!” He sounds like a guest speaker at the January 6th rally.
The end of the film almost makes slogging through the rest of it worth it. The heroine looks longingly into his genocidal eyes and asks, “Will I see you again?” And he responds, “Yes, you can teach me about sensitivity and having a conscience.” Then they walk off hand in hand into the Aurora Borealis, as they stroll through a desert littered with thousands of dead bodies. Simply amazing! Then, as if there was anything that could top that, Breen takes a final opportunity to drive home his point with a sober injunction. “The primitive humans must continue the cleanse in order to survive as a species.” I guess that means you need to get out there and start killing. Better hop to it.
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