After the Dark/The Philosophers (2013)

  • Gist: A teacher leads a class of high school seniors in an international school in Jakarta through a series of visualized thought experiments about what people should be chosen to survive a nuclear holocaust.
  • Critical response: Varied from “Beautiful and intriguing!” to “Hard pass!” but I think I can fix it for most viewers if you do ONE thing…
  • Brains and Beauty: Plunges into the dilemmas of human value, like matter v. mind, leadership v. service, and science v. art. Poignant and thought provoking, as long as you do this ONE thing…
  • Cast: James D’Arcy delivers as the piercing, prickly teacher, alternately enlightening and fighting his students, played by a talented and diverse cast of youngs…IF you do this one thing…
  • Scenery: You’ll want to be on the next plane to Indonesia.
  • Objectionables: Barely R, nothing you couldn’t view with teens, although content is serious, including a couple violent acts and some sexuality, intrinsic to the plot.
  • The Notorious Ending: Writer-director John Huddles should be hugged, kissed, then shot. I can spare him IF I do this ONE thing…
  • …five minutes before the end, when the kids turn in their textbooks, STOP THE MOVIE and consider it over! Absorb, reflect, find closure at that point of well-balanced tension and moral ambiguity. Only after that switch into pure film critic mode and watch the conversation in the last few minutes and note how it undermines the rest of the film. Like with the Matrix sequels, you know?

Conclusion: Watch it and share it, start deep discussions and fun fights with it, but for the love of St. Genesius please do that ONE thing! [Doesn’t seem to available for free right now, but only $3 on Vudu.]

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