Los Angeles Film Festival reviews

 

 

LOS ANGELES -- Recallingmany a postapocalypse fable but dashed off in the pulp medium of the presentday – cheap digital cinema – “Ever Since the World Ended…” is stimulating, provocativeand a little tough to swallow but overall a promising debut by filmmakersJoshua Litle and Calum Grant. 

         Onecould easily imagine a studio remake costing millions, but the solid writing ofthis “social science fiction” story find ways to make the complicated lives ofpostplague survivors a fascinating saga of hanging on to life as we know itwith very little functioning 20th century technology, no formalgovernment, no contact with other peoples and no way to ever go back. 

         Only186 people remain in the greater San Francisco Bay area.  It’s been 12 years since a plague wipedout the vast majority of humans. Following years of instability and lawlessness, the deceptively meekones left have reached a level of trust and tolerance, but they rarely leaveSan Francisco and are not above making ruthless decisions against perceivedenemies of the peace.

         Revelingin it back-to-nature details that are entertainingly spaced out by theinterview format – from basic power and food concerns to the dangers outsidethe city and internal group decisions like conceiving children – “Ever” startslike “The Blair Witch Project” meets “The Omega Man” and then gets better.  Improvising, shooting only usingavailable light, the filmmakers and cast are terrifically consistent infleshing out the material – which becomes more powerful by the transparent“reality-based” comfort level of the premise, including the “makers” of thedocumentary we are watching providing brief commentary and a structure to theexperience.

         Anyway you let it sneak up on you, “Ever” is scary stuff, evoking the cold vibesof such doomsday flicks as “12 Monkeys” and “A Boy and His Dog.”  But it’s also downright witty in placeslike the funny comments of the “last Native American” (Ed Noisecat), who isweary of being the totem for everyone’s spiritual longing.  Grant and Litle take credit fordirecting and producing; the former is the writer, and the latter is thecredited cinematographer. 

         Filmedin widescreen in the mini-DV format, “Ever” was edited on home computers andlooks smashing on a big screen. Standouts among the cast are Mark Routhier as a sinister outsider whodares to return from exile, David Driver as a business-minded-scavenger and AdamSavage as a pragmatic conserver of vanishing technology.  There are many more fully realizedcharacters – doctors, surfers, teachers, tree dwellers, hunters, young adultswho don’t know the way it was before, a few children and deadly strangers – inthis superbly executed, surprisingly ambitious film. (David Hunter)