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Apr 21 2015

Tribeca: The Survivalist

More from the Tribeca Film Festival!Here'sJasonon an Irish future dystopia flick.

The Survivalistbegins by throwing us - us being humanity - right off a cliff.We watch as a pair of lines - one signaling population growth,the other standing in for oil production - dance around each other like they're in a rough cut of that Chuck Jones cartoon.Up up up they go,until oil,you know,dribbles off,and then wham,it's the yodeler fromThe Price is Rightfor all of us.

It's a mercilessly efficient way to say everything big that needs to be said (what multi-million dollar YA tent-poles take their sweet time drawing out) and to then drop us into the small ghostly after-world of the main story,where we mainly deal with the drama of one man,two women,and the well-fortified cabin and garden that comes to stand in for survival,humanity,itself.

Mercilessly efficient isn't a bad way to describe Stephen Fingleton's film as a whole,in that everybody's pretty much past words being of much use at this point - small deals are sussed out,nodded through,but it's action that matters.The minute twitch of shoulders in the direction of a weapon...or even a soft sweet palm of a hand brushing over sharp scruff.Harsh times,and harsh scruff,calls for harsh attitudes,but mercy does exist here -The Survivalistis mighty uninterested in being relentlessly bleak;that road (or should I sayThe Road) is well-trod by now,and these characters might be desperate people in desperate situations with mud smeared artfully on their faces,but they're also - against their best interests a lot of the time!- striving for what used to be called family.

It's in those minute twitches - not the ones for guns and knives but the ones for skin and communion,for warmth from the cold - whereThe Survivalistspeaks the loudest,and the sweetest.Where you watch someone weigh the pros and cons of just touching,not killing,and that decision elicits its own poetry.The Survivalistis chock-full of that stuff.What survives after everything dies,it turns out,is still an awful lot.

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Reader Comments (2)

Oooh,this one sounds interesting.I'll have to check it out if it ever comes to Chicago.

April 22,2015 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

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August 7,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJamesSmith

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