Alongside Night (2014)
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Imagine watching a grainy recording of paint drying, played in super slow motion, narrated by Gilbert Gottfried. Imagine further that you are being tickle tortured, having toothpicks stuck under your fingernails, and having teeth extracted without anesthesia all at the same time. Imagine further still that you are being force fed the contents of a septic tank while all this is happening.
If you can imagine all of this, then you have a pretty good idea of what watching this is like.
The action runs quickly although not smoothly at all times. There are holes in the plot but the story seems secondary to me. Far from being tedious, the film brings forth ideas which are not in the mainstream and explains them fairly well. I found this quite refreshing if anyone can name a film which is as interesting in expressing a pro-government position please let me know.
To summarize: pros: good-looking film for a small Indie, I was very pleased with the acting, an interesting and decent exposition of fresh ideas, something the industry is desperate for. Cons: a fairly unexciting story line and a muddled ending. Watch if you have a curious mind. 8/10
A little long in running time but ultimately worth watching. Destined to become a Libertarian Cult (In A Good Way) Classic. The opening music and title animations first grabbed me. I couldn't help thinking of James Bond film style theme music which the director/writer/producer J. Neil Schulman might have been aiming for. For a relative insider to the Libertarian movement since the early 1980's, the film was a banquet of Movement Munchies and inside insights. Liberty Movement outsiders can expect to find themselves a little disoriented at times (but hey, what good is Artistic License if you can't or don't use it?) Production values were 80-90% up to big screen snuff but nonetheless impressive considering the lower end budget. Major character acting was mostly tightly delivered and mostly believable, but maybe around one line in twenty would tend to come off with a self-conscious or slightly awkward dialogue feel. Consistent Universe Issue: For a Country supposedly on the verge of Massive Civil Unrest and The Next Great Depression, the movie scarcely manages to convincingly depict this, save for well-groomed mobs moving through well-maintained streets. But I can give that a pass because of the budgetary limitations. Plot elements and devices sometimes fluctuated between cleverish and near-cartoonish, but not quite severely enough to demolish the consistency of the Film's Universe. There remained a tone of unkillable optimism mingled with deja vu familiarity that seduced me into this adventurous future next door. Then Global Climate Science Denial gets a gratuitous groan of a cameo. Dammit. A cheap shot, a buzz kill and an intellectual fractional reserve. This seriously undermines the films value as an infomercial for the Liberty Movement. Libertarians are usually supportive of empirically derived evidence and nominally pro-science. (I don't think NASA scientist James Hansen had a Marxist wealth redistribution scheme in mind when he first correlated Venusian climate facts with implications for our own planet.) Big Corporate Fossil Fuel and people who uncritically sign on with the profit-motivated "Merchants Of Doubt" (see the excellent book) PR Fraudsters are only hurting the validity of their causes. (Exxon knew what it was attempting to bury in the early 1970's even before Hansons work.) A better, fresher air debate is certainly desirable and possible, but "Information Should Not Be Subject to A (Hard Party Line) Vote. A more Libertarian economy will value rational economic decisions including "True Cost Pricing" of so-called economic "Externalities." All in all though, I'll give "Alongside Night" 3.5 stars out of 5. Schulman stakes out valuable artistic territory by calling attention to the risks for Statecraft to shipwreck all we value about free human civilization and "Alongside Night" (mostly) convincingly conveys it with the Gravitas it deserves.
Warning all of this impending calamity is Nobel Prize winning economist Kevin Sorbo who's seen as a threat to the government which is as full of intrigue as any government in the Mid East now. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is now our secret police and they keep a lot of their own secrets. No mention is made of the FBI, Secret Service or the CIA, wonder where they all went. Our Armed Forces are useless, they're actually unionized and on strike.
Sorbo's precocious kid Christian Kramme an economics major and guerrilla fighter is the key player in this film. This is one badly directed, badly acted film by some players like Star Trek Voyager refugees Tim Russ and Garrett Wang who've seen better days.
So folks, stockpile your weapons and get your Krugerrands while you may.
Spoilers follow. Much of the movie's problems arise from an attempt to make an economic and political statement assuming that all viewers will understand the jargon thrown around. Supposedly, a 16-year old who deals in black market ticket sales is smarter than everyone but his dad. Apparently, criminal activity is winked at because the US government has become so corrupt. The plot is hard to follow and contrived.
With a little more exposition, a little higher level of acting and a few better twists in the plot, this could have been a much better movie.