Monday, January 11, 2010

Carriers: A Medley of My Favorite Films-Only More Depressing.

Disease is the new zombie, vampire, monster and slasher movie. It makes sense these days seeing as how the moment someone sneezes they get instantly quarantined. The threat of the swine flu among other various diseases is most definitely this decades horror fad as it correlates with the world's biggest fear and threat- a disease that wipes out the human race. Carriers is perhaps the most realistic and not too far from the truth take on the matter- therefore making it insanely uncomfortable, terrifying and just plan depressing. In fact once the credits started rolling I started to panic and then hugged my cat for a good 20 minutes. It helped- but I'm still a little depressed and just so you know, I'll be accepting hugs after the review.

I think for the most part people are pretty divided on Carriers. I've seen it on a fair amount of best movies list and I've read some pretty favorable reviews. On the other side however-the general consensus is- that it's just too damn depressing. Are we really that vulnerable? Are our immune systems really that crappy? Are we really just going to slowly die out and become fossils? Like it or not, agree or disagree--one things for sure- that the idea is terrifying.

So anywho- we have 4 main characters. The guy from Star Trek, Piper whatever boo- from Coyote Ugly and 2 other people. We travel with our 4 characters as they make their way to the beach- while meeting all different kinds of obstacles along the way and encountering the deadly virus in more than one way.

One of the things I really enjoyed about the movie is how in the beginning--up until the little girl sticks her head up, you never really know if the disease has started. It really just felt like 4 friends on a vacation who were about to encounter the first instance of the disease. Alas, they are 4 of very few survivors and that moment of seriousness when the little girl pokes her head up revealing that bloody face mask is startling. Once that part happened it was like a completely different ball game- shit got serious- and the funny thing is that it was already serious to begin with- we just didn't realize it.

The most depressing parts of the film have to do with abandonment. Even that first moment of high tailing it the heck out of there when the Law & Order guy needs help is sort of jolting. For me the movie was all about survival in a more subtle way than say a zombie movie. There is this complete and utter air of hopelessness that is so palpable. The seen that exemplified this for me the most was when the group left the doctor- who was in the middle of dispensing out a deadly kool-aid mixture to the children still alive. For once in a movie the main characters weren't dumb enough to play the hero- yet we feel as though they should have- yet we know that they could not. Which I think is an extremely horrible emotion to put an audience through. It's like putting an animal to sleep. It's just the worst. That moment of turning their backs was pretty damn painful and then things only got worse when they abandoned Law & Order guy and his daughter.

These feelings of abandonment never seem to go away- as more of the main characters lose their ranks we are put through this same emotion over and over and over again. What makes that horrid emotion even worse is how we instantly tend to put ourselves in those same situations. What would it feel like to be abandoned by those you trusted- in a world where you know that's what they have to do- but you just don't want them to do it? It's so complicated and upsetting. The brother face off for instance was insanely draining. Yeah I'll say it--I pretty much cried. The kinds of balls you would need to grow in a situation such as this is ridiculous. That alone is enough reason to understand that as a civilization-- we would not be able to survive the threat of disease. Yes we have hearts, and we hold onto things that we feel we cannot live without. When faced with a similar situation would you really be able to pull the trigger? I wouldn't. So there you have your answer- to the age old question of would that really happen to us? Unfortunately I'd have to say yes. We are far too morally righteous to survive because our emotions and our attachments will always get the better of us.

OK now time to cheer up. I noticed while watching, that Carriers is very similar to a few movies you may have heard of. Despite the very obvious fact that Chris Pine was in Star Trek- I couldn't help but be brought back to that little scene in Star Trek where a young Captain Kirk is taking that car out for a joy ride. A scene mirrored very well when Chris Pine's character gets all fast and furious behind the wheel a few too many times.

Then there's the obvious similarity to Zombieland with the "rules" and the comradery between 4 characters--no Bill Murray cameo though which is a serious mistake in my opinion but whatevs.

Next- the scene where the other 2 characters whose names I don't know are hiding from the guys in suits- in a KITCHEN. Eyes wide open, backs against the cool silver counters, praying that a veloicparptor doesn't hear them breathe. What? Oh. Right what I mean is that scene was almost exactly like Jurassic Park that it almost made me lose my cool right then and there.
And on to another movie that may have only made me think of it because a main character was in it- Coyote Ugly- when the girls are forced to strip. They may as well just be on a bar shaking what their mamas gave em'. Ok not really that was a bit of a stretch but hey I tried.
....I thought I had more but I guess I just drank too much caffeine last night and imagined that there were more similar movies connected to it. Actually an obvious one is Outbreak. The awful realization of getting blood from someone else on you, and what not. No rabid monkey's but hey we can't have it all! God I love that movie though.
Alright well that was a completely pointless tangent but hopefully I made you feel less depressed. The point is I did enjoy this movie- well maybe enjoyed isn't the right word but I did think that it was fairly well done. The intensity of the situation the claustrophobia of being alone and that sensational voice over that happens at the was definitely just the right amount of hopelessness. It's a movie that stands as brutally honest- and like it or not- I think a rather realistic way that the future could play out- IF people don't cover their sneezes.

"It's a beauiful day. And it shouldn't be a beautiful day. I wait. But nothing happens to me. And for the first time- I feel like I am alone in the world. We made it. Two strangers with nothing left to say... I don't know what will happen next. I don't know how long I'll live. But I know I will be alone. "


Dod said...

I am DEFINITELY going to have to see this. I have that soft spot for apocalyptic visions...and for Piper Perabo, but that's a whole other ballgame. What appears to make this a must-see is the depth of the story and the characters, which is all the more appealing to me, let alone the desolation and fear.

Wonderful review again, Andre, as always!

deadlydolls said...

Kickass review Andre. I watched it last week and was extremely impressed. You capture a lot of what I caught as why I loved it: the wonderful trickster of an opening scene and the growing (but not at a ridiculous rate) sense of desperation. I think the reason I admired this film was so much was that a) I'm a sucker for plague pics and b) it took place in this kind of middle zone between apocalypse and post apocalypse we don't normally see in horror. Whereas most are so keen to show the aftermath, Carriers focuses on how we get to that point, losing our conscience and sense of empathy in order to survive.

Also, hell yeah Jurassic Park shoutout!

Anonymous said...

Emily and I went back and forth on this one last week. I have real issues with it. Namely, in a world where self-preservation is key, I have a hard time thinking anyone would help out someone who's obviously infected with a deadly disease. It is however, a fairly effective thriller.

Fnord said...

As with just about any "end of the world" type of movie, I loved this. It was fun and exciting!

Andre Dumas said...

Thanks all!

PoT- do you mean why would Piper whatever-boo help out the little girl? I guess I saw it as the ultimate flaw that most humans have- where it's really hard to deny someone help, especially if they are really cute little girls. That's what I mean by if this did happen most of us would die- because we don't have the ability to just turn our backs on people.

Anonymous said...

No not Piper what's her butt, her douchey boyfriend. I'm surprised he didn't start capping people. Not to be overly cynical, but truly, on the last leg and only chance for survival, why risk it? I could see if maybe it was early on but it was clear that the plague had already swept the world and getting to their destination was the only option. To stop and compromise their goal, I thought, would never had happen in the 'real world'. I actually think it would have made for a more brutal and gut wrenching film (and ultimately) a great character study if they had killed the father and daughter. Heartless? Yes but thats the way it goes.

Andre Dumas said...

Hmmmm Yeah that would be wildly awful if they did kill them both--but I think I liked how that completely brutal side of the Chris Pine character progressed. He seemed to still have somewhat of a conscious in the beginning and then by the end when he just killed those people --a definite change there.

Hmm and well also I think he would have killed the father and daughter had everyone else not been completely opposed which is why I think he gets extra mad when his girlfriend catches the dreaded disease.

The Mike said...

Totally thought of Jurassic Park also.

Great write up, really nailed some of the things I saw in it too.

deadlydolls said...

PoT and I did have some great discussion about this very topic, and I stand by the fact that the film is set at a very specific point in the progression of the world. There's no hope left, but the people aren't quite at the point where they can fully accept that. You see it with the Hazmat guys too. Two of them are ready to start taking the women for their own, while the other guy hasn't even though him or his friends possible of that. When you think of books and films like The Road, you see the world AFTER the apocalypse, when those willing to survive have made it and are now living as they have to. Carriers takes place when people are figuring out just WHAT they have to be willing to do. In another month, they probably would have shot Chris Meloni and his daughter, but at the very start of the film, there's still some sense of conscience left.

Andre Dumas said...

Good call Emily, I would have to say that I very much agree with you. This is a rarity in that aspect because we are so used to things being extreme in these situations when in Carriers, it really hasn't reached that point yet.

People still are trying to find a way to dislocate their hearts and emotions from their minds and as the film progresses this change starts to make itself more known till we get the big shock of a decision made by Chris Pine's brother.

There are a lot of different opinions and what not on this movie but I smell what your stepping in- and completely agree. This ain't yo mama's post apocalyptic movie!