A lunatic madman has placed a nuclear bomb 10 blocks from the White House. He enlists the President of the United States and a group of geniuses to try to solve the world's problems in one night. If they fail, the world will come to an end. The group attempt to solve world hunger, war, cancer, terrorism, rush hour traffic, jerks, and finally the meaning of life. By morning, the group finds redemption in themselves and quite possibly in the world... Written by
Seldom does a movie show the culpability of our culture,of our society, in the mayhem and madness we often find in everyday life. The film shows how our world is drifting through darkness. The mouthpiece for this thematic undercurrent is Armand, a genius who plans to blow up the city of DC unless a group of geniuses find answers to the world's problems.
The geniuses are a professor, a seminary student, a casino owner, a pizza delivery guy, and others.
Armand provides the film's final thematic statement by giving the password to the bomb in '3 words'.
Working on us to reinforce this world as Armand sees it is the film's astounding mise-en- scene, a disturbing film-noir setting developed by the director and cinematographer. Flashlights barely illuminate the metallic walls of the 'genius' lair. A giant screen overlooking the genius table provides a '1984' look of Big Brother and the pursuant scoreboard that ticks up or down, dependent on the answers provided by the geniuses. Bird's-eye-view shots of Washington, DC show the world in peril. Thus, the film's closing scene is in bright sunlight, which by then only serves as ironic counterpoint to what we see happening throughout the night.
This is Armand's vision; both inhabited and described by Brian Mehlman, the FBI agent working for Homeland Security.
Though gripping and mysterious, this is not an action film. It holds our interest through the workings of the issues and more astonishingly, the inner workings of the past histories of each genius.
This is a very lean, dialogue-driven, tight film. It shows humanity in the end, even in the terrorist who lost his wife to cancer and to the pizza guy who lost his mother in a hit-and- run accident.
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