AIR DVD (2015)
SYNOPSIS: In the near future, breathable air is nonexistent. Virtually all of humanity has disappeared, and those chosen to reestablish society reside in a controlled state of suspended animation. Two engineers tasked with guarding the last hope for mankind struggle to preserve their own sanity and lives while administering to the vital task at hand.
In this indie science fiction thriller, the air on earth is contaminated by a chemical warfare that kills everyone except a few selected smart beings who are kept alive in chambers situated in an underground bunker. Every six months, two lone maintenance workers, Bauer (Norman Reedus) and Cartwright (Djimon Hounsou) are awakened to make sure the equipments and facility still run smoothly as ever. But most important of all, what about the workers’ mental state of mind?
Air never succeeds in bringing out the side of humanity or the psychological side effects of being trapped in a dark, claustrophobic environment for a prolonged period of time. Except for some sudden tensions and Cartwright’s constant interaction with an imaginary woman, the script by director Christian Cantamessa and Chris Pasetto never really keep things interesting. Air has a lot in common with Duncan Jones’ Moon but despite having two credible actors onboard, the story fails to take off with no obvious clever twist or character motivation. Running at a mere 94 minutes, the end result is apparently way too long for comfort.
The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus and creator Robert Kirkman co-produced this title, hoping fans of the hit AMC series will pick this up. They are probably right since we have a familiar face on the cover and the premise sounds engaging to attract curious viewers. Reedus’s Bauer is another variation of Daryl (his hairstyle looks the same and the way he carries a pistol is almost alike) though Bauer is much more talkative here and Hounsou gets the chance to emote more instead of his many blink-and-miss appearances on the big screen. Clearly, the story is setup in a way that both men each carries a dark secret of their own and the eventual face off is practically unavoidable. Ultimately it’s the scripting that lets them down not the fault of the actors.
Canadian cinematographer Norm Li did a marvelous job lighting the minimal set to create a claustrophobic environment and also the set designer for the retro-style bunker that is equipped with outdated mainframe monitors and dot-matrix printer. Well, Kirkman expresses his wish not to see an Apple store inspired layout so there you have it. In short, Air is yet again a tale set in a post-apocalyptic world with a genuine good idea to boot but with absolute poor execution written all over. Let’s hope Reedus and Kirkman can find better material to work together in future. How about a Walking Dead movie for a start?
An Account of Confinement: Creating AIR is an 8 minutes that touches on the story, cinematography and set design.
The Custodians: Behind the Scenes with Norman Reedus and Djimon Hounsou takes a deeper look at their characters.
For a budgeted and dark looking movie, the visual looks pretty good on DVD. Details and imaging is not a problem at all. Surround sound quality is heavy with environmental, ambient sound effects and dialogue is clean.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee