In the near future, Frank Grieves is a new breed of police officer working in a city where all recreational drugs are legal. When he is taken off a case involving an unidentified corpse, he discovers that legalization has come at a price.
Narcopolis is a futuristic thriller set in the near future where all classes of drugs have been legalized. Frank Grieves is a 'Dreck', a roaming narc responsible for keeping the black market dealers off the streets and the licenced drugs companies rich. When he discovers a rogue substance in an unidentified corpse, evidence suggests that Ambro, the most powerful drug manufacturer of all, are conducting secret tests on an experimental narcotic. Grieves discovers a second victim - this time alive - but she disappears and he is suddenly taken off the case by his superiors. As his options drain away, it's clear that legalization has come at a heavy price. Is it too late to save the city? Written by
Justin Trefgarne has his first cinematic debut with the crowdfunded Narcopolis; a sci-fi drama about a future where drugs have been not only legalized, but are being pushed by corporate backers as being a safe alternative to street narcotics.
There were several things I really liked about this film, despite being what most people would consider a low budget type of film. First, as a science fiction, it brings a very unique idea to the audience. Although the majority of the film is in the detective style of neo-noir films, the concept is a solid one. Imagine a future, where the majority of citizens are not only using, but encouraged to do so though advertising and product guarantees. Narcotics are available in every society I can think of, but very few of them have been privatized outside of the prescription drug market. There is some decent acting, and I was particularly impressed by Eliot Cowan's portrayal as the protagonist Frank Grieves; who portrayed a massive and daunting man, battling his own demons, while progressing through a series of bizarre events.
The things that most people will notice are the poorly written plot twists, and dialogue. Some of the twists that are meant to shock the audience fall quite flat during this film, or are revealed at the wrong times. Perhaps due to poor direction or writing execution, it's hard to say, but there are several scenes that make little to no sense in the overall plot. A few of the actors are new, and you can tell in the way they exchange dialogue. Yet if you can look past these scene errors and look at the overall film, I think you'll be quite pleased at the end result. I encourage more films from Justin Trefgarn and hope he keeps to the same genre. I especially enjoyed the opening of the film, which set quite a pace that I wished that the rest of the movie kept up to.
Needless to say, it's a very sound Sci-Fiction / Drama, but most viewers will hold it to perhaps too high a standard. An excellent first entry along the lines of 'Equilibrium' (2002).
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