day eight: the quiet earth. [another day, another movie – post-apocalypse.]

Australia has already made several appearances in these post-apocalypse movies. With The Quiet Earth, it was New Zealand’s turn. All I knew about this one going in was that it was a post-apocalypse film, that it was on lots of the lists I found, and that since it was called The Quiet Earth, it was most probably a ‘last man on earth’ sort of movie. I don’t want to ruin anything, because I really appreciated going in blind. I’ll keep the details sparse.

I could be wrong about this, I didn’t check at all, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Kiwi movie. Sure, movies filmed in New Zealand like Lord of the Rings, but not a truly Kiwi film. The Quiet Earth was made by New Zealanders, based on a novel by a New Zealander, and set in New Zealand. If I were going to be small-minded and base my entire opinion of New Zealand on this movie, I would surmise that the people of New Zealand are trippy as shit. Now, obviously, I don’t actually base my assumptions about New Zealand on The Quiet Earth, I base them on The Flight of the Conchords.

The first portion of the film, which is just Bruno Lawrence as the main character trying to make sense of the empty world he finds himself in, is the best part of the film. I was really drawn in by how well they tackled that familiar part of the genre. The increase of tension was really well proportioned to the slow revelation of small details about what the hell was going on.

As I’ve already implied, this movie had several key moments that were mind-bending, including the conclusion. Director Geoff Murphy won’t even officially say what the film’s ending means.

The film had so many strengths that I wished I’d enjoyed it more than I did. Sadly, the relationships between characters, as well as the motivations for people doing what they did, was weak, even nonexistent. Maybe it was better in the novel, but in the film it was like: ‘Hey, I’ve got this really great sci-fi idea for an end of the world movie. Oh, wait, I forgot to include actual characters… give me an hour to let me throw some people in this bitch and we’ll get this show on the road.’

Anyway, Bruno was great, the film had tons of really great things going for it. Yet, the weakness of the third act makes me sadly admit that, in my humble opinion, The Quiet Earth was good, but not great.

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  1. Quality post, good webpage theme, maintain the good work

    • Brian
    • March 3rd, 2011

    was “Eagle vs. Shark” a New Zealand film? ’cause that was pretty weird too, but most probably not at all in the same way as this movie, haha.

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