I’ve always had an obsession with films set post apocalypse. They’re stories that process our anxieties, and we have a lot to be worried about these days. Edge of Extinction fits into our concerns about the decline of morality. What would you do to survive if the rules of civilisation were swept away?
Years after the nuclear devastation of World War Three, people survive by scavenging on the remains of the old world, and preying on other survivors. When traumatised loner Luke Hobson, The Boy, crosses paths with Georgie Smibert, The Girl, he is dragged from his isolated existence, forced to confront dangerous enemies, and find his morality in a broken world. It’s a kill or be killed existence, where threats of raping and pillaging and murdering are ever present, and if some black clad psychopaths get hold of you, being eaten.
The premise is compelling, cannibalism is the ultimate taboo, and writer director Andrew Gilbert asks some interesting questions. The problem is he only partly answers them, in a screenplay that’s probably fifty pages too long. (Spoiler alert) He could’ve excised the rape and torture subplot, it’s misogynistic and gratuitous, concentrated on the horrors of cannibalism, without losing anything from the story.
Take a look at the brilliantly terse The Day (2011). Written by Luke Passmore, and directed by Douglas Aarniokoski, it’s set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, where a small group battles to survive an attack from a group of cannibals. It deals with the same issues but has a more concise execution, and is better for it.
Trimming back the plot might’ve also helped reign in some performances that are allowed to run away with themselves. It’s an early effort from a writer director that obviously has talent. I just wish he’d been brutal enough to lop off a couple of the plots limbs?
Overall I’d say it’s not all good, but neither is it all bad.