After the Dark (a.k.a. The Philosophers)

What Jesse said:

Ah! That [something interesting Mike said] reminds me of a great movie I saw called After the Dark. It’s about a group of kids in a philosophy class who are assigned to consider an apocalyptic thought experiment. The world is ending and there’s only room in the bunker for half of them – who, and how, do they choose? At first I thought it was going to be just another tense apocalypse movie full of kids from a Gap commercial. It is exactly that, but it’s also much more. It’s totally a trick – you think you’re signing up to be entertained and then, bam! – you get schooled in philosophy!

Mike’s verdict:

I completely agree with Jesse on all counts for this one; it’s an apocalypse movie full of Gap commercial kids that teaches you some basic concepts of philosophy. And it’s totally entertaining.

At the beginning I was a bit hesitant because the class starts with a discussion of some very cliché philosophical thought problems. I was worried that I was going to have to sit through an entire class of Philosophy 101 students reading from the first 2 chapters of a text-book. Thankfully the exposition is only used to set the scene and the film very quickly moves on to far less obvious considerations.

The dialog is well written, the cast is surprising dynamic and the plot really works well. This film moves fast, and you move fast with it. It’s exciting – I really wanted to see how the kids worked through their predicaments, and I silently cheered when they chose to run the experiment one last time. Oh, and the initial setting in Borobudur, Indonesia is really cool. It would be an amazing place to watch the beginning of the end of the world.

After the Dark is a terrific film, right up to the end. Unfortunately, the ending itself was fumbled. Back-story was tacked-on as if to add one more twist into the plot, but it was needless and greatly took away from the strength of two main characters. There’s an obvious point where this film should have ended and you’ll know it the first time you see it.

Overall, I really liked After the Dark and I wish I could give it a perfect score – but the ending was forced and completely out of character with the rest of the film. Even so, 9.5/10.

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