Parts Per Billion (2014) Poster

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Love in the time of cholera
centinel82221 May 2014
Parts Per Billion follows the intertwined stories of three couples at different stages in their lives who are dealing with their relationships during a time of global crisis. Each couple is dealing with their own issues within the context of larger events. Those seeking scenes of mass hysteria and destruction will be disappointed. This is a relationship movie, through and through.

It's no surprise that the cast is terrific, and do the best with what they have to work with. Whatever faults may exist, the writers and cast create believable and interesting characters. The non-linear nature of the story -- the scenes jump from couple to couple and from time to time -- can be a tad confusing at times, but it was probably necessary to provide a feeling that something is happening. This is important, because nothing actually is happening. To use a cliché, it's like the characters are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic without even acknowledging that its sinking. There is an unreal feel to how the looming external crisis is ignored by pretty much everyone until it is on top of them. For this reason, the film wastes the whole concept of impending doom and leaves us dealing with normal couples dealing with normal issues.

Perhaps it was the director's intent to show how we get so swept up in our own personal affairs that we can't see the big picture, but it just seems to me to be a waste of a good premise. I can't help but compare Parts Per Billion to Another Earth. Both are small-budget films that deal with tragic relationships in the shadow of bigger events, but the later film was able to tie the two things together. This, too, could have been a poignant film, but it comes up short.
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A Cool Movie, but It's Miscategorized and Has a Misleading Title
softermaniac28 May 2014
This movie is not sci-fi and it's not an end of the world disaster movie as the title seems to suggest. I think its abysmal rating is because people are going into it thinking it's a certain kind of end of the world, doom and destruction movie and then they find out it's not that at all. Not by a long shot.

This is a romance/drama film that tries its darnedest to be deep.

This is one of those interconnected drama movies along the veins of: Crash, Magnolia, The Air I Breathe and Happiness.

So if you're into that sort of style, plotting and character driven storytelling you'll almost definitely like this. If not, you'll most likely find it tedious, boring and depressing.
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Amazingly depressing...and I am not exaggerating about this!
MartinHafer22 May 2014
"Parts Per Billion" is a film written and directed by Brian Horiuchi. It's very well made—with some really nice acting. However, it's also one of the most depressing films you could ever watch and I don't think most folks would want to see a film quite like this—especially since it seems very obvious where all this is headed.

When the film begins, you learn that some sort of biological weapon was unleashed in the Middle East. Soon, folks in that part of the world start dropping dead and it seems like the weapon will spare no one in the immediate area. However, when the effects start spreading globally, it seems like perhaps no one will be left alive. However, this film is not so much about this directly but how a few individuals react to all this. Some fight desperately to survive, some ignore the inevitable and some can't stand to face life in this post-apocalyptic world and are ready to just give up. Naturally, these scenarios are depressing and the film keeps cutting back from one story to the next.

The film stars a few famous folks—with some really nice performances by veteran actors Frank Langella and Gena Rowlands as well as Josh Hartnett and Rosario Dawson (among others). The direction is also good, though in a few scenes I was annoyed by a modern filming technique which I think is way overused—the unsteady cam (it can make you nauseous if you see too much of this on the big screen). But the combination of the music, writing, acting and director's touch is quite good.

I am going to make this review rather short. Suffice to say if you like Robin Cook stories about pandemics, then you'll probably enjoy "Parts Per Billion" (well, enjoy might not be the right word for this). However, it's a lot more depressing than most of Cook's doom and gloom scenarios—much! Well made but so thoroughly unpleasant I am not sure who would really want to see this one. My advice is see it if you want, but if you are suffering from depression or are worried that this one might make it tough for you to sleep, I suggest you try something else. Well done but awful to watch at times.
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Good movie with a very good cast but it is really depressing so you must be in the mood for it. Not as good as Contagion.
cosmo_tiger30 May 2014
"Nothing is left. The radio stopped. There's no more planes or helicopters. When's the last time we heard anything other then birds?" After a man made virus escapes the entire world is threatened. The fast moving and fast acting bug is bringing about the end of the world with no hope for a cure. Three couples each deal with it in their own way. Even though their stories and experiences are different they realize that life revolves around one thing, love. For some reason ideas and plots for movies seem to come in clumps and no matter what they get made back to back to back. Armageddon and Deep Impact came out very close together. So did Volcano & Dante's Peak, Olympus Has Fallen & White House Down, and Legend Of Hercules and soon Hercules. This movie is part of the new up and coming trend, movies about a man made virus that causes the apocalypse. Contagion, It's A Disaster, Goodbye World and the more recent ones just to name a few. All of them have their good qualities but like so many copy cat movies they are never as good as the original. This one is no exception. Overall, good movie with a very good cast but it is very depressing so you must be in the mood for it. Not as good as Contagion. I give this a B-.
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jamesallen7922 May 2014
This was a waste of an hour and a half of my life that I will never get back. I never write reviews on movies, but I just had to for this, to prevent anyone else watching this pile of garbage and going through the torture and torment I did.

This is one of the, if not thee worst movie I have ever seen. Even with a decent cast and good acting it still couldn't help this movie . I can not believe that I kept watching this after the first 30 mins?? I guess I thought the next 60 mins just couldn't be as bad as the previous 30. It was almost like someone shot all the scenes of a movie, shuffled them and linked them altogether. I spent most of the movie confused and I was so relieved when it finished. It wasn't that I didn't get the story line, I did. I was just so confused as to why the actors agreed to such a shambles of a movie.

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a people under the influence (of Ebola)
lee_eisenberg27 December 2014
Brian Horiuchi's "Parts per Billion" is about rising chaos as trade winds blow toxins from the Middle East westward, but the focus is on the characters and how they try to get on with their lives amid the disorder. I interpret this to mean that the movie's gist is that we have to avoid giving into sheer hysteria when something bad happens. We've seen how psychotic people can get when they're scared, whether with 9/11 or with Ebola. As for the movie itself, most of it came across as a little slow. I did think that "Outbreak" (which emphasized the biology) and "Contagion" (which depicted the government agencies as competent*) were better.

*This is in stark contrast to the movies that portray the rugged individual saving the day.
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Great acting but YOU wish you'd died it is THAT slow
draciron19 June 2014
I kept watching thinking surely this movie would develop and do something other than bad mush. The bubble gum philosophy was mangled to the point it begged to be put out of it's misery. The acting was first rate but the script doesn't even move enough to be coherent or incoherent. It just lays there softly whimpering and perhaps whimpering is too strong a word. It would be impossible to write a spoiler for this movie since something would need to happen to spoil. What a waste of a great cast. Give me a week and I could write something considerably better than this. Even the romantic angle was bled out so painfully slow with so many pointless interruptions that it does not even rate up with a trashy romance novel. Save your eyes, mind and any other organs you wish to spare the agony of enduring this movie.
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tries to be deep.
lamby-4047512 December 2015
Essentially, there is a virus that is gonna kill everyone. there are several couples in the film, and they tell each other how much they love each other, over and over again, for one and a half hours. I kept thinking something was going to happen.

The lines are pretty poor, they attempt to sound really deep and meaningful, but in reality, if you have seen a film about couples in love, you will have heard all the same garbage before.

It includes lines such as, I love you, I have never met anyone like you, I'm so lucky to have you, I never want to lose you. Yep, all classic lines that even someone who has just started learning English as a second language, could muster in an attempt to perform a Nigerian 419 Scam.
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Not with a bang
gpeltz5 November 2014
But with a Whimper, that is how the world ends" So wrote TS Eliot. Spoiler Alert, some plot points revealed. I have seen many of the, "End of the World" scenarios played out, of late. This one takes a more intimate approach then many, closer in spirit to movies like, "Melancholia" which only hinted at the global repercussions. Three or more couples, journey to meet their fate. The cutting from past to present,to a possible future, is done seemingly randomly, As is the mixing and interweaving of each couples background recollections. It's all here folks, the love and the tears, the hopes and the fears, only in the end to seem pathetic and meaningless. with the exception of the little girl shot, which if showing the future offers the possibility of redemption. Ultimately it did get wearisome, toward the end, even all the passionate embraces could not enliven. I am grateful for these independent films to hire senior actors,and younger actors too. There were a few touching moments, scenes well played, I liked the soap label scene, having had personally met Dr Bronner, of the "All One" persuasion. I thought the "sick boy" parable was creditable.

I suppose my biggest objection with, "Parts in a Billion" was the seeming haphazard editing. For example; We see a nurses body, and then we flashback to get the story of the nurse. Things like that made the events anti climatic. Not a good story telling device.

The actors took their parts in earnest, the film was capably shot, with good production values, The music was marginal, pared down to suit the action. last word, Yeah, it was a depressingly serious little movie.
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An Utter Failure
JohnLeeT5 August 2014
An apocalyptic film in which there is never a payoff. No "event" ever takes place and certainly isn't depicted. It is completely inexplicable. Where are the huge waves and destruction of the Statue of Liberty? Where are the nuclear blasts and shock waves? No flaming comet is shown approaching earth or rampaging contagion depicted spreading across globe. While the movie is well acted, it is a bitter disappointment. There is no complete breakdown in the power grid, mobs of zombies, or any of the plethora of apocalyptic scenarios available to the film makers. It makes no sense at all and three stars are awarded simply because the acting is good. If there had been some suggestion that another planet had been discovered and only a short time was left until that earth would be obliterated by it, then it would worthy of a much better rating.
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Underrated Threads meets Melancholia, Truffaut/Wenders style
nooware27 November 2014
So sad, that this movie has not hit the theater screens and has only been released as a DVD/Blu-Ray disc.

So sad, that too many Hollywood consumers have lost their souls to big money sci-fi flicks. Remember sci-fi movies by Andrei Tarkovsky. There was a time when cinema was not all about special effects, but poetry, realism, and surrealism.

This movie is wonderful and dreadful at the same time. If you care for real cinema, go watch it now. The acting is excellent. The dialogues are outstandingly smart. There is no reason why you would deprive you from watching it. It's a billion times better than 1995's Outbreak.

For a first movie of his own, Brian Horiuchi is signing a masterpiece that so many people will not see, because it's a true UFO in the Hollywood jungle.

"They are unripe and only fit for green boys." says Jean de La Fontaine in 'The Fox and the Grapes' fable, quoting a stupid fox unable to reach his meal, only capable of complaining and moaning.

Like Threads, the 1984 BAFTA award-winning BBC television drama, Parts Per Billion provides a highly depressing experience. Though, Horiuchi makes it a bit less straightforward, less graphic, and chooses to focus more on the relationships between human beings, like in Melancholia (2011). Only, these beings are less sophisticated than in Lars Von Trier's movie. Though they are chosen ones, they look like simple and common individuals with valid, simple thoughts, but also so living, so unique, and so exceptional beings.

The characters do express genuine sincerity like in François Truffaut and Wim Wenders' movies. They sound precise and exact. The only drawback is a shaking camera, the reason why I don't vote 10/10 but only 9/10. Such an intense drama would have benefited an adequate, more professional handling.

So, let's change the director of photography next time. And I hope it's not Brian Horiuchi's last movie despite a likely loss of cash. We need independent directors to remind us that intelligent cinema is still alive, and really enjoy their movies.
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Could have been great, but falls short
scorch42917 March 2020
This is one of those movies that makes you angry... because its so close to being great, if they had just put a bit more time into it. It has heavy themes about how we choose to spend our time and how we treat others and how it affects everything around us. Its very subtle in how the characters are linked, the backstory, and themes. I wish they would remake it because the premise is great, but theres just something about the movie that doesnt quite hit the spot.
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A Boring Mostly Talk Not Enough Action Movie
loveablejohn-4662917 March 2019
This movie was very depressing and moved along very slowly with the actors mainly talking to each other with infrequent action and love scenes. The script could have been better written but the cinematography was excellent and the actors did a good job considering what material they had to work with.
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A subtle, mature, end of time love story.
jamesart-439-53774020 May 2016
A strangely compelling, end of world tale, that could easily have gone astray but did not, due to the intimacy of the relationships told through exquisite writing and performances. Told in a mosaic fashion that builds to create a beautiful whole, the film first intrigues and then, inch by inch, draws you in. Wonderful performances all round from veterans and newcomers alike. ( Always a sign of an excellent director.) Frank Langella, Gena Rowlands shine in the mature, understated way of older greats. Josh Hartnett also brought something special to his role, as did Rosario Dawson. But it was Theresa Palmer who brought an exquisitely luminous and fragile element to her role and really brought true soul to the whole movie. An actress well worth keeping an eye out for.

A movie that transcends its not so uplifting subject matter to somehow create an uplifting movie, in a melancholy kind of way. Welll worth a deeper look.
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An utter failure at meeting the expectations of a nine-year-old secretly watching the sci-fi movie mommy and daddy have been talking about
beatzx3 December 2014
JohnLeeT already said everything in his funny and poignant review of the movie. This one is just in case you didn't get into a laughing fit when reading it; after all the humor isn't that clear if you haven't watched the movie yet.

The only thing that did bother me a bit when watching the movie was that the cinematography was rather ordinary and it wouldn't have hurt to let the nine-year-old suffer through another ten to twenty minutes of character development. So the movie may not accompany me throughout my life, but it contained/was a compilation of the most believable and intimate interactions between loving people on screen that I've seen in a long time. Not only do I not mind the fact that no "actual event" is shown, but I consider that the only viable way of depiction of this kind of event. The eradication of a majority of humanity would not be a spectacle to be gazed at, mesmerizing.

Anyways, have fun watching this fine movie!
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