AFTER THE PANDEMIC *** USA 2022 Dir: Richard Lowry. 84 mins
Medical developments in the last few years were bound to produce a film with so blatant a title. Richard Lowry and crew have done this by making simple small stories that some will not like.
After The Pandemic (2022) isn’t about a pandemic with melting people eating the living although that is hinted at in the story. Judging from some of the other reviews of this work that idea has zoomed over the heads of some. The film world is full of those stories as we all know making this film different. The pandemic is the setting for the story of two people wonderfully played by Ellie (Eve James) and Quinn (Kannon Smith).
After The Pandemic (2022) is a silent, brightly lit world sparsely populated by humans that move amongst the abandoned building and white biohazard-suited people who use sound detectors. The SUV driving white suits capture the survivors, toss them in a van and ships them off for a purpose that is not fleshed out. The film plausibly plays the silent idea by having the first third of the film told entirely without dialogue.
It opens with Ellie in an upper-class home five years after the disease has wiped out people including her parents whom she has buried in the backyard. The shots flow wonderfully as Ellie goes about her routine of practicing ballet and then scavenging for food. The instance she finds is a tin of cat food which she slowly eats while staring out a window. Big difference from the other vision of post-pandemic worlds of a burning building, storms, stampeding creatures and paramilitary dirty-faced humans trying to save the last vestige of humanity.
Ellie in her travels stumbles upon Quinn living in another home in the destroyed world. Quinn is the opposite of the rather naively played Ellie. Quinn informs her of the dangers of being captured, how to fight, how to cook food, put rubber covering on her shoes to avoid detection. Quinn is a fighter that has lost something of herself in the battle to survive which she does virtually and without consciousness. She tells Ellie she can stay one night and then must leave adding that its “nothing personal”
After The Pandemic (2022) becomes a friendship story of two women verging on hints of a Lesbian relationship which again is entirely plausible in a world of only two people. Both these people are broken in some way and need each other to live.
Quinn and Ellie’s friendship grows as they world together climaxing in obtaining a driving a sports car down a bright sunlight highway shrieking happiness like Thelma & Louise (1991). That film is a good analogy for After The Pandemic (2022} since the happiness doesn’t last. The world swallows Ellie and Quinn up returning itself to the status quo.
The players Eve James and Kannon Smith work quite well together showing contrasts and growing together on screen. They work well in the action moment of gunplay although the running away from the evil bio suits looks like it could have been executed better. They do the best with what they are given as does Director/Writer Richard Lowry. The film is filled with sharp editing of suburban vistas and the surrounding desert.
After The Pandemic (2022) is a small film about a large event. The drawing together of a friendship and love between two broken souls in a world in which they are left alone. In a sense both become one as the film progresses. The real tragedy in the world that is decimated is the loss of humanity.
Review by Terry Sherwood