Overall Grade: (C)
A science-fiction drama set in a creative world that was ultimately more intriguing than the stale family saga the film was unfortunately centered around.
In the not too distant future the planet has become barren of resources and with water extremely hard to come by, people can only rely on their families and nearby relationships to survive. Left to operate and protect whats left of his families ranch, a young boy will have to become a man to keep his loved ones alive in a world that seems to feed on the weak.
This was a film that had much promise for an interesting science-fiction drama but in the end it was a rather dull film. The world the story-line was set in seemed to be much more compelling than the family drama that the film centered around. The two young characters played by Kodi Smit-McPhee and Elle Fanning were rather uninteresting. Their performances were good but with the writing, on lack there of, Fanning’s character was hard to like and thus a real interest in their outcome was never generated.
There was some appeal to the role Smit-McPhee played and with his performance, he was the true star of this project, but he didn’t have enough dialogue to work with. The script could have built his character much more to make him an intriguing player in the story-line.
Instead he was given more silent stares than dialogue or character interactions to build-up the development of his inner character motivation. The result made him the protagonist simply out of being the only option. Michael Shannon was decent in the role but the film as a whole could have been more enjoyable with him getting more screen time, his character felt rushed and rather plain.
The setting of the film was interesting and could have easily been the backdrop for a great adventure of a post-apocalyptic earth. Given the story-line lacked much of the intended drama and overall interest for me I was left feeling more interested in the social dynamic of the current world the characters lived in and the dangers of a changed society.
The hints of highly advanced robotics in the film were a nice compliment but yet again their appearances only did more to make you wonder about the past events that lead up to the current day actions of life. For me, just as some interesting scenes would convey more of the dystopian settings, the script would veer back to the family plot. Doing this left many loose ends and meaningless moments in the film after you reach the conclusion.
Overall this film had its moments, there was a couple of moderately tense moments but not nearly enough to recommend this film for spending an evenings time on. Strong science-fictions fans may draw more out of this film but even then, with the rather spotty camerawork, slow pace and rather uninteresting plot wrapped around a highly intriguing setting, this resulted in the average at best. Pass on this one if time is short on the weekly schedule, there are much better films to watch.