During a future ice age, dying humanity occupies its remaining time by playing a board game called "Quintet." For one small group, this obsession is not enough; they play the game with living pieces ... and only the winner survives.
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In the distant future the world is in the grip of another ice age. A city originally built to house five million people is now in its death throes as the relentlessly advancing glacier is slowly crushing the metropolis's steel infrastructure. The relatively few surviving fur-clad inhabitants, perhaps thousands, perhaps only hundreds, drift aimlessly in their grim, drab world, awaiting their inevitable fate as they try to survive from day to day with scavenged firewood and minimal diet. Their only solaces are booza, an alcoholic drink distilled from moss, and Quintet, a seemingly innocuous board game for six players. The only other surviving mammals are roving packs of hungry mastiffs which roam the city's corridors and quickly dispose of the remains of the dead. Newly arrived from the south is Essex with his pregnant wife Vivia, seeking shelter in the doomed city only to find it populated by people middle-aged or older. They had supported themselves by hunting seals, but now that the ... Written by
...and talk about life.
The only thing I've seen is death, or the prospect of it.
But that's what makes life worthwhile; every time you cheat death, you feel the pure thrill of life
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If you're a science fiction fan and you think you're in possession of every sci-fi movie out there that matters - but you haven't seen or don't own Quintet - you have a gaping hole to deal with, for Quintet is essential viewing. It's not perfect, it's maddening at times, but as a wholly unique take on the future (and unspecified future events) it's required viewing, believe it.
Quintet is, first off, an American director's (conscious or unconscious, I'm not sure) European-movie excursion - or, it's more akin to, say, a French director's style than an American's. Very long shots of pinpoint-sized characters as they move slow as molasses into full view; utterly spare dialogue; women from a Bergman film; relentless singularity of vision; and nothing given away, no easy answers, fields of question marks all around. A slight movie, in a way...the barest bit of celluloid, with a relative few actors and a rather oblique plot. But the movie sears itself into your brain, and even though you'll never need to see it again after the first viewing (if you're like me), you're not gonna forget it.
It should also be mentioned that one of the great feats of Quintet is featuring the very environment itself as an actorly presence, something to be reckoned with - or, more precisely, cold itself as an actorly presence. This movie, next to Fargo, renders the latter a Hawaiian romp, when it comes to the depiction of bone-shivering cold. You cannot watch this movie, even in Arizona, and resist quaking along with the actors. Probably the most believable movie re: pure environmental cold I've ever seen. Which of course matches the goings-on of the story...but you'll have to find that out for yourself.
See Quintet, and witness a great director's creative restlessness touching the sci-fi genre in a completely original way. It's like nothing you've ever seen. And it will, in your depths, despite yourself, trouble you.
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