After Dark 2011: ‘Exit Humanity’ swings and misses again, and again, and again . . .

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Exit Humanity

Directed by John Geddes

2011, Canada, 114 minutes

 

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that there were six hundred people in the Toronto Underground Cinema for Exit Humanity. There may have been more. It was pretty full (the theatre seats seven hundred thirty seven, according to their liquor license), and I wasn’t able to sit in the aisle seat, like I prefer—more on that later. Anyway, six hundred people sitting for a two-hour movie equals twelve hundred human hours spent (read: wasted) watching Exit Humanity. Now, to borrow (and pervert) an argument from Tony Kushner, spending that much time on a bad movie is the moral equivalent of murdering a month-and-a-half-old infant.

Sure, Exit Humanity starts with a great premise: zombie apocalypse, a handful of survivors, and the Old West. Zombies and the US Civil War should go together like ultra-violence and Quentin Tarantino. It should work, but doesn’t.

The first problem is a terrible script. Set up as a journal of main character Edward Young (Mark Gibson), Exit Humanity is narrated by Brian Cox, whose considerable talents are wasted on dull and insipid words more suited to fan fiction than a feature film. The plot meanders and stumbles. Action is divided up episodically (i.e., into chapters of the journal—towards the end, chapter seven feels more like chapter seventy), and the lurching plot feels like it wants to be a TV miniseries instead of a film—except that it shouldn’t ever be one, because that would be stupid and terrible.

Rounding out the badly written script, the performances are dull, the editing is tedious, and the art direction is spotty. My favourite game quickly became “spot the anachronism”. Other audience members, consisting of the film’s cast, crew, and families, played a different game, called “cheer and hoot whenever we recognize someone on screen”. This is a shame, as Exit Humanity has enough trouble building a moment without comments from the peanut gallery.

But surely, you ask, there are some good points to Exit Humanity? Well, yes: the cinematography is gorgeous. The film has a great palette, more impressively, is pretty good at shooting in the dark. Lots of films aren’t. Also, the film is punctuated with short animation pieces. The animation itself is great, even though the pieces are used either as filler or as information dumps.

Sure, Exit Humanity is ambitious. However, it isn’t stunning. It isn’t well-executed. It isn’t smart. It isn’t thought-provoking. It isn’t harrowing. I would have walked out, had there not been seven people between me and the aisle. I can’t say how much I hate this film, but boy did I try.

 

– Dave Robson

 

The 6th Annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival runs October 20 though 27, 2011 at the Toronto Underground Cinema. For complete festival info visit www.torontoafterdark.com.

3 Comments
  1. Adam Seybold says

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
    Theodore Roosevelt
    Kyle, I suggest you think about that the next time you want to refer to film criticism as “art.”
    My problem with Dave’s review is not that it’s negative. No, it’s both mean spirited and poorly written.
    Subjectivity masquerading as objective criticism isn’t “art.” It’s an opinion without consequence.
    His writing is BAD. And you know it.

  2. Kyle says

    I’m going to take a wild guess here and assume that the person who left the comment below is someone who worked on EXIT HUMANITY. I say that based on how fast the comment landed on the site, and how angry the individual is – as if he or she took it personally – as if it was perhaps their own work???

    With that said, I ask you to consider this:

    This is not a site for closed discussion but for an opened discussion in which the staff is expected to address their honest opinions and exchange ideas… call it a learning process for everyone involved including those who land their browser on our site. We are not fanboys, our job is to critique a film and not to act as boosters for Hollywood or any film studio for that matter. Why should people read reviews if the critics are only expected to simply promote a movie? Film criticism is a work of art, meant to raise the level of discussion about the art of filmmaking. It is unfortunate that we live in a culture where people don’t understand what film criticism is – Where people have closed minded ideas of differences in opinion and can’t tolerate reading or listening to someone’s thoughts if it does not mirror their own. You don’t read a critic to agree with what a critic says but to get ideas to make you think abut the work of art at hand. With internet blogs, the difference in opinion is shunned down upon these days, and conformity is considered the way to think – that is sort of a fascist way of thinking, but that seems to be what you expect from Dave. Perhaps if Dave had nothing but praise for the film, you would leave a positive remark. I admire how Dave expresses his opinion and doesn’t feel the need to write as though he is a promoter. In film criticism you need discourse, otherwise what is the point? The point of criticism is to talk through the ideas and get a better understanding of why people respond the way they do, be it in a positive or negative light. No movie will please every person in this world no matter how great one may think it is. Perhaps if you valued, respected and actually took the time to try and understand Dave’s views, regardless if you agree, than you might just have a better idea of where the film suffers. Until than, you will continue to make bad movies.

    Sincerely, and not antonymous…

    Kyle Reese

  3. Anonymous says

    You’re clearly not a critic but a desperate entertainer looking for some fans. Good luck with your short films and plays.

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