Rev­o­lu­tion

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT -

“It’s all go­ing to turn off, and it will never, ever turn back on,” Ben tells him. And be­fore he can an­swer Miles’ ques­tion about what’s go­ing to turn off ... ev­ery­thing does.

Lights go out; com­put­ers shut down; au­to­mo­biles stall in their tracks; air­planes fall from the sky. The en­tire planet is plunged into com­plete power-black­out dark­ness. Cue the open­ing cred­its. When the pre­mière re­sumes, it’s 15 years into the fu­ture, and the cur­rent-free world has evolved (de­volved?) into a prim­i­tive but func­tional so­ci­ety whose fo­cus seems to be on agrar­ian con­cerns and sort-of-tribal liv­ing.

Ben and his now-teenage chil­dren, Char­lie (Spiri­dakos) and Danny (Gra­ham Rogers), are part of a small community liv­ing in what ap­pears to have once been a sub­urb of Chicago. Char­lie is head­strong and re­bel­lious, while Danny is more of a fol­lower who al­lows his sis­ter to get him into trou­ble.

One af­ter­noon, while Char­lie is out ex­plor­ing a por­tion of the sur­round­ing coun­try­side deemed off-lim­its by her fa­ther, a mili­tia troop ar­rives in the vil­lage. Its com­man­der, Capt. Tom Neville (Gian­carlo Es­pos­ito) an­nounces that he’s search­ing for Ben Matheson and his brother, Miles, be­cause his su­pe­ri­ors be­lieve the sib­lings know some­thing about why the power went out and, per­haps, how it might be re­stored. When the other vil­lagers rise up to try to stop the troop­ers from tak­ing Ben away, shots are fired and blood is spilled.

Hear­ing the gun­shots, Char­lie races home, only to find her fa­ther mor­tally wounded and her brother miss­ing, hav­ing been taken pris­oner by the mili­ti­a­men. With his dy­ing breath, Ben im­plores his daugh­ter to go to old Chicago to seek out her Un­cle Miles, who will know what to do to res­cue Danny from his cap­tors.

And so be­gins Char­lie’s quest/ad­ven­ture in earnest; with for­mer com­puter geek Aaron (Zak Orth) in tow, she heads for Chicago in search of her un­cle — “All my dad ever said about him is he’s good at killing,” she tells Aaron.

When she finds him, he wants no part of her quest. But when it be­comes clear that Char­lie’s jour­ney has led mili­tia forces right to his doorstep, Miles is forced to re­con­sider, and the re­united fam­ily unit fights its way out of a rather tight spot.

Mon­day’s Rev­o­lu­tion pre­mière is by no means a per­fect pi­lot — there are some gaps in its nar­ra­tive logic that re­quire a gen­er­ous sus­pen­sion of dis­be­lief — but if you’re will­ing to buy into the ap­peal­ing mythol­ogy of a world with­out cell­phones, e-mail, tex­ting, Twit­ter or photo-radar cam­eras, you’ll find the ac­tion-filled story com­pelling and the di­verse col­lec­tion of char­ac­ters wor­thy of emo­tional in­vest­ment.

Spiri­dakos is very ap­peal­ing in what should be­come her break­out role, and Burke ( The Twi­light Saga) is ev­ery bit the ac­tion star as her equal-billing co-star. Es­pos­ito ( Break­ing Bad), for his part, is per­fectly cast as the mili­tia-boss vil­lain who will make their res­cue mis­sion dif­fi­cult.

There’s po­ten­tial here for huge prime-time fun. Out there in the dark­ness, Rev­o­lu­tion’s fu­ture ac­tu­ally looks pretty bright.

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