Very promising film that needed to be longer to be fully effective
This film is set in a visually striking futuristic Netherlands. There is a dictator in power. This dictator, President Isimo, imposes his own subjective idea of aesthetic beauty on the country. As a result, people live in houses that look the same, children wear drab grey uniforms, and even the school has a sterile white interior. But now the dictator wants to extend his vision to the children themselves... There is no place for "ugly" in the land!
This ambitious film is only 25 minutes in length but it has the comforting feel of a full length feature film right from the start. It's visually compelling, the momentum flows well, and yet the short length of the film is it's greatest shortcoming. The film should have been the standard 1 and a half hours long. There is too much plot for the time frame. For this reason, the audience doesn't get a chance to feel emotionally connected with Paul- the child in the leading role. There is too little interaction or comparison between Paul and other children to define who Paul really is. The romance between Paul and Sarah doesn't properly register as the maker's intended. When the children call for Paul and Sarah to kiss, this romantic moment in the film was unexpected, and felt out of place. The fleeting roles of the headmaster and teacher were under-developed. It would have been good to fully appreciate how the headmaster and teachers dissenting voices influence/fortify Paul in his resistance. The female 'baddie", Secretia, is too two-dimensional to be truly scary or disturbing. The escape scenes are unrealistic for adult viewers- for example the passages in the prison-like building are mainly unguarded. Despite these criticisms, the film is visually stylish and does tell it's considerable tale adequately within the time given, which is an accomplishment in itself. This makes it worth seeing. If the same makers were to make a full length version, I'd definitely want to see it.
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