20 YEARS AFTER
Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
Reg. E. Cathey
What's it about
The apocalypse has occurred and a group of misfits escort and protect a pregnant woman whoíll deliver the first child to civilization in 15 years.
Is it good movie?
Sometimes single word definitions summarize efficiently. For the new film 20 Years After, one word fits quite well: boring. Yes, many other more descriptive words work, but boring captures the overall quality. 20 Years After attempts to have smarts, suspense, intrigue, and rounded characters, but fails on all accounts. It tries mightily to captivate with talky characters who examine their eroding world, a future destroyed by weapons that has left strands of people scattered about. Based on a play, 20 Years After feels like it. Too many slow scenes, too few interesting characters, and even worse dialogue.
I actually had to watch the movie twice. I made the grave mistake of starting it once in bed. Ten minutes in, bam, eyelids shut. The characters never shut up as they talk about the world changing; discuss the current climate as if on stage. The dialogue never felt film quality. It belonged on stage.
It starts with good intentions with a weary, lone DJ (Joshua Leonard from Blair Witch Project) spinning tunes and proving social commentary on the worldís destructive state. Heís like the last DJ who still attempts to give musical beauty. Heís soon drawn into a raged group of survivors, one of which is pregnant, carrying the first child the world has seen in 15 years. Then there are the villains who want that baby. To make one of them appear extremely evil, heís given not just a southern accent, but a mohawk! Now thatís evil.
20 Years After feels like The Postman, mixed Children of Men, and influenced by Mad Max. Unfortunately, it canít touch any of those (not even the shitty Postman). It just doesnít have enough to work with. Frankly, sci-fi movies need vision. Not that this lacks vision, it just doesnít appear visionary. Itís without that spark of creativity. Apocalyptic movies donít need massive budgets. They need that creativity to ignite commentary for the audience to examine. This movie cannot find the visual match to their ideals, nor does it have characters that captivate.
Out of all the characters, I wanted to bring up Samuel, played by Reg E. Cathey. He doesnít do a tremendous job here, but he formally did act fantastically in two of my favorite shows, Oz and The Wire, and had a small part as the coroner in the classic Seven. He might not be a star, but his roles were memorable. Heís like a poor manís Morgan Freeman, and he desires better than this.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen presentation
Audio: Presented with the power of Surround sound
Only had a screen copy which listed notta.
The best of sci-fi works with invention, miniscule budgets, and creativity. 20 Years After wants all those elements, but comes up short. Perhaps with a rewrite it could have stimulated thought more. Donít let the characters do all the viewersí thinking.