FRIEND OF THE WORLD ** USA 2020 Dir: Brian Patrick Butler. 50 mins
A brief opening sequence in full colour – shot like a home movie – follows the thoughts of Eva (Kathryn Schott) as she comments on ‘life‘, the film then going into B&W for the majority of the duration.
We encounter Diane (Alexandra Slade) waking up in a bunker, the room filled with dead bodies. As she tries to escape, she accidentally shoots one of the bodies; the guy appears to be still alive or is he? What follows is Diane attempting to escape her ‘concrete prison’ and being found by General Gore (Nick Young), a middle aged unfriendly, unhelpful, unapproachable man also hiding underground in ‘the Sector’ – a place reserved for the elite of society. Gore appears to have been in the confines of his room for a considerable time, hiding from what has been happening to people who have become infected.
Leaving the confines of his room, they encounter a zombie type creature and then after a dose of serum, Diane starts to hallucinate, the B&W images just adding to the overall feeling of weirdness.
On waking Diane and Gore – in his stained ‘wife-beater vest’ and combat trousers – continue through the tunnels, heading towards their inevitable ending or their expected escape. As a companion, Gore is the exact opposite of Diane; he’s a very wordy army general, with pure hatred at the world and the situation that they are all in now, with no given answers as to how the world had changed.
The movie is broken down into various chapters, with the fourth opening with one of Diane’s colour home movies that she had made before the event took place and their worlds were turned upside down.
With an overall claustrophobic sense of foreboding, we encounter various other people in the tunnels underground, each more insane than the last.
The B&W images and nonsensical encounters make one reminisce of ‘Eraserhead’ by David Lynch – the dialogue also is bizarre in the extreme between Diane and Gore – “clean yourself up, you look like a fuckin’ Tampon’ he shouts at her, when she has blood all down the side of her face.
The closeness of the two main characters – who are on their own for the majority of the film – could also work well as a theatre play, the film carried by their dialogue and theirs alone for most of the running time of this short film from Director Brian Patrick Butler. The Director has also featured in bit parts in films such as the most recent Tarantino epic ‘Once Upon A Time in Hollywood‘ and TV shows including the American police comedy ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘.
A film that could easily gain worldwide appreciation by art house appreciators and film students, due to the quality of the filming, the limited special effects and the very articulate dialogue sequences, especially from General Gore.
Possibly a film without general appeal, but a good effort from a low budget product.
Review by Ian Carroll
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