THAT, Amigos Y Amigas, is exactly what happens to Zac Hobson (superbly portrayed by Bruno Lawrence) in The Quiet Earth. It's a very uncommon After-The-Fall film written by Lawrence, with Bill Baer and Sam Pillsbury (who also produced), based on the novel by Craig Harrison and directed by Geoff Murphy (Young Guns II, Under Siege 2 and Fortress 2, too).
This is no Mad Max and this is most certainly no L'Ultimo guerriero. Instead, The Quiet Earth takes an engaging and pensive journey through the psychological ramifications of being truly, not metaphorically, alone in this world. In spite of some thrilling moments, this is hardly an Action Film. To wit, the influence of The Quiet Earth is written all over films like 28 Days Later... and Resident Evil, and there is more than a little influence from Dawn of the Dead to be seen here. However, this semi-unknown Sci-Fi Classic is hardly a horror flick.
Zac finds himself at first desperately trying to find another living human being (echoing aspects of The Martian Chronicles) in an abandoned city-scape. He uses radio announcements (a la Night of the Comet) and huge signs to keep any prospective rescuer or rescuee apprised on where to find him. But as time goes on, two things become clear to him. 1) He is most likely the last man on the quiet Earth and 2) He may well have been part of the cause of this apocalypse.
Which brings us to 3) He's going quite insane very quickly, like someone spending an entire weekend trying to uncover every obscure reference made in these stupid reviews.
What follows is both fascinating and frightening as our only character goes from Shock to Denial to Anger to Megalomania to Blasphemy to Cross Dressing to Violence to the Edge of Suicide to Acceptance. But the questions begin to really fly when he discovers bodies out there, some not dead that long, and a couple... not dead at all.
Enter the other two sides to the triangle in the form of Alison Routledge's briefly topless Joanne and Pete Smith's Api. As Zac tries desperately to finish his research and possibly reverse the effects of the end of the world, tensions grow between the three of them in various ways. One can't be the last man on Earth if there are two of you, especially when there's only one last woman on Earth. Yes, Yes, another Rooster in the Hen House. One of these chickens is a-gonna get fried.
While This Quiet Earth doesn't maintain its absolute brilliance for its full 91 minute run time (nor do I remain funny until the end of a review), Murphy's film successfully evolves without feeling like a montage of varied ideas about the end of the world. I'm thinking mine might revolve around a Build-A-Bear army, but hey, who cares what Post-Apocalyptic movie I'd write, man? Okay, I admit it, it'd be porn. Murphy never devolves into the Kneumsi realm of Teddy Bears and Erotica (although Bruno Lawrence's hairy, naked pudginess is all over this film). His take on drama and the psychologically surreal make for a more realistic and thrilling Science Fiction about the end of the world. Maybe naked women with teddy bears having a Pie Fight? Sorry, my ideas again. You folks know me well enough by now... I'm sorry. Anyway, it's a refreshing take on what could be a tired, old subgenre of Sci-Fi, The Quiet Earth is, and I was mesmerized from beginning to end, especially with Bruno Lawrence's acting.
Actually, now that I think about it... my ideas would be a refreshing new take on the Post Apocalyptic Science Fiction Thriller, TOO! I realize I put that to bed a paragraph ago, but bear with me... The end of the world comes, and only women are left alive on Earth, and clothes have either been disintegrated by the apocalypse or are no longer an issue because there aren't any big, fat, hairy men like me ogling them, so they all build a Teddy Bear army, write some folk songs, experiment with their new-found sexualities and end up with a Pie Fight. We can call it The Quiet Eros, and... OH, AND TRAMPOLINES! Yeah, Trampolines. I'm sorry, I'm doing that again, aren't I? Why are you still here, why are you even reading this? Okay, screw this, no more reviews, this is my last one, I'm just going to concentrate fully on my Lesbian Sci-Fi Romance novels I'm working on. No More Reviews! No More Reviews! No More Reviews! I'll change the name of this website to The Quiet URL! Go read Filthy, or Harry, or... or Ebert! Or that new guy, Filthy Harry Ebert.
Sigh. What a week. Anyway, The Quiet Earth is a great film, which I probably shouldn't have made light of by being me. Four Stars out of Five for The Quiet Earth. It's not your utopian, sterile, futuristic sci-fi, it's not your used-future, action and adventure Space Opera, it's not your Inter-Stellar Military Space Exploration show, nor is it even your dusty, sandy, post-apocalyptic renegade adventure. But for those of you who can handle the cerebral drama that marks some of the best Sci-Fi, The Quiet Earth is for you. For the rest of you... uh... wait for my screenplay to get finished. There'll be something for everyone. It shall be my neo-platonic, ultra-feminist, post-deluge masterpiece. See you in the next pie-slinging reel!
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