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Review by Andrew Phillips

Embers 2015

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Review by Andrew Phillips
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2016-09-13T23:31:56Z— updated 2016-09-19T07:12:39Z

Remember the brilliantly brutal 2008 film, 'Blindness', with Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore?

'Embers' is kind of like that, but far less brilliant, not as brutal, and packed to the brim with disconnected, bored (and boring), blank-faced characters you won't care about even if you put a lot of effort into trying.

I was roughly 40 minutes into this movie when I was struck with the horrible realization that it wasn't going to go anywhere, and that the characters weren't going to grow or develop simply because characters without memories or identity can't grow or develop. What possible dramatic character arcs are going to occur when nobody remembers who they were yesterday?

Christopher Nolan's 'Memento' deftly sideswiped this issue by providing us with a character who relied on tattoos and note-taking to supplement his handicapped memory (and it led to a genius revelation about the lies we often tell ourselves), but nobody in 'Embers' makes an effort to find a pen. I could only conclude that it's not just their memory that is impaired, but also their basic common sense.

Worse yet, because of their perpetual forgetfulness, these characters have no awareness of the melodrama going on around them (i.e. when the "established couple" experience a memory lapse and inevitably drift apart, as we all predicted they would), so there's no reason for them to react to it. This type of blank character has really got to be the worst possible role for any actor, and the film doesn't help much by requiring them to act weirdly child-like most of the time.

I hope, when the apocalypse finally arrives, I find as much time to play on slides and swing sets, and toodle around in the surf at the ocean like an idiot. And let's not even get into the crazy farmhouse lady with the multi-coloured hair ties, the poor choice of breakfast cereals, and the room full of stuffed animals. If this global societal collapse is really in its ninth year (as Miranda's bunker computer seems to suggest), then it really strains credulity to depict these survivors as looking so well-groomed, or so well-fed, or having quite so much recreational time.

I guess what I'm saying is, if you haven't seen 'Blindness' yet, I highly recommend it.

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