Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

After the Dark (2013): A Bloated Philosophical Tangle Masquerading as Provocative Science Fiction

After the Dark (2013): A Bloated Philosophical Tangle Masquerading as Provocative Science Fiction

Synopsis:

“After the Dark” is a science fiction psychological thriller film written and directed by John Huddles. The film follows a philosophy class at an international school in Jakarta, Indonesia on the students’ last day before heading to college. The teacher runs a thought experiment where the class must decide who would survive an apocalyptic scenario and be allowed into a fallout shelter. 

The students are forced to make life-and-death decisions with serious consequences as they debate factors like profession, age, and gender in determining who gets to live. The film explores philosophical questions around morality, survival, and human nature as the thought experiment unfolds.

Review by Ben Dover:

Goodness gracious After the Dark, you terrible practice in artistic navel-gazing and stressed otherworldly posing. This supposed metaphor for creativity and reality’s nature hides behind serious sci-fi philosophies, only to fall down an endless rabbit hole of self-indulgent pseudo-intellectualism that borders on parody.

From the start, essayists/chiefs John Clusters and James Pordan stake their elevated reasonable desires – following a pessimistic educator who stirs in an apparently dystopian Jakarta and is compelled to fight with the dim limits between apparent reality and something…more. It’s a reasonably high-idea situation ready for rich, mind-twisting investigation of humanity’s existential condition.

Unfortunately, the execution is so hilariously ham-fisted and graceless that any potential philosophical reverberation is suffocated in a downpour of horrendously on-the-button representations and painfully harped on discourse. The teacher and his alternating band of characterless student originals don’t really take part in philosophical talk as they cudgel a large number of discourses of bloated, guilelessly formed ideas about the idea of truth, presence, and unrestrained choice. All of it is blunt anvil drops, a sign of astonishing self-importance.

The visuals are about as dull and one-dimensional as it is possible to get for a movie that is supposed to be about questioning the fabric of reality. The bombed-out Indonesian urban hellscape our “heroes” traverse appears to have been art directed by a remedial CGI trainee, with backgrounds that are distinctly reminiscent of poorly rendered late-90s video game cutscenes. So much for vivid world-working to highlight the story’s dangerous view of the material plane.

A career-worst performance by the normally competent Bonnie Wright as the embodiment of existential enlightenment or…something is at the center of this melancholy, thematically overwritten slog. The previous Ginny Weasley steps through many scenes frowning in profound alarm as though ceaselessly stricken by heartburn, her line conveyance so crude that it undermines any planned significance. Like such a huge amount in After the Dull, it signals fiercely at importance accomplishing nothing looking like cognizance.

The sheer, interminable tedium that it forces the audience to endure is the final, unforgivable sin of this aimless exercise in self-serious faux-philosophy. It never breaks away from its mind-numbing rinse-and-repeat cycle of protagonists waxing poetic on the ethics of reality before being entangled in yet another torturous scenario, despite its grandiose reflections on the malleability of time and consciousness. It’s an onanistic long distance race of persistence burdening narcissism that basically never appears to end.

The idea that ambition and empty philosophical posturing do not automatically constitute worthwhile art is truly exemplified by films like After the Dark. It collapses into an unintentionally comedic void of vapid inanity because it is so thoroughly enamored with its own delusions of grandeur. This is a misguided, dreary, and insufferable piece of self-satisfied cinematic tedium. A transcending landmark to exhaust scholarly masturbation.

The entire movie boils down to (spoiler) the professor is banging his A student (keep in mind this is a high school) do yourself a favor and skip this drivel that could have just been called Professor Murder and the X-Men school., I am still upset that I had to watch it.

Notes:

Gross worldwide
$1,770,376

Runtime: 1 hour 47 minutes
(editors. note: about 1 hour and 30 minutes to long.)

Quotes:

Kid to professor: This is just a pseudo Nazi science experiment.

Philosophy is to real life as masturbation is to sex.

Critics Consensus:

Critics 67% Audience 43% Rotten Tomatoes

After the Dark is an impressively smug and pseudo-intellectual piece of film making wrapped in a grade 11 intro to philosophy level of meaning and allegories…

Trailer:

AI Images:

By Michael

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