The World Without Us
released 18 April 2016 | 18 | Blu- ray/ DVD
Director Stephen Fingleton
Cast Martin McCann, Mia Goth,
Olwen Fouere, Andrew Simpson
Stephen Fingleton’s debut feature opens with a simple visual: a red line and a blue line charting the rise and dramatic fall of human civilisation after the oil runs out. It’s the only hint of world- building in this pared back and unflinchingly brutal postapocalypse thriller.
Martin McCann plays the nameless survivalist – a bearded, mulleted loner living a quiet life in a rural shack. He grows his own crops and kills those who are foolish enough to cross his path. An encounter with Kathryn ( Olwen Fouere) and her daughter Milja ( Mia Goth), however, leads to an uneasy alliance based on sex and work for food. As the three live together, their shifting allegiances threaten to destroy everything.
With no incidental music and only sparse dialogue ( it’s a full 17 minutes before a word is spoken), The Survivalist relies entirely on its visuals and the brilliant, unsettling performances of the central trio. All three characters shift between victim and villain at various points and the film thrums with the ever- present threat of violence. Goth, in particular, is superb – dead- eyed and determined, but with a flicker of empathy as her bond with McCann begins to grow into something apparently sincere.
Although the film sticks to just a handful of locations – the cabin and the woods, mostly – Fingleton demonstrates a real visual flair. An elegant crane shot that moves between McCann and a would- be assassin lurking in the long grass is fantastically tense, and there’s a hint of Terrence Malick in his depiction of a world thriving in humanity’s absence. Combined with a soundtrack that’s composed almost entirely of background noise – wind rattling the trees, bird song, trickling water – it makes for an impressively immersive ( if exceedingly dour) experience. There’s no racing around in souped- up cars in this future, just the endless daily scrabble to survive.
Extras A Making Of ( 43 minutes). Will Salmon
To help secure funding for the film, Fingleton made a 16- minute prequel short called Magpie: http:// bit. ly/ survmag.
And still the Ewok slaughter continued.