I have roasted Duncan Jones for his weak film adaptation of the Warcraft games. But Jones is by no means a bad filmmaker as is obvious after watching this powerful and partially frightening film starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey. Despite the slightly dragging story, this film features one of the most cleverly agonizing concepts since The Matrix. This film also manages to succeed with the two main characters being played by the same actor, Sam Rockwell, with surprisingly great effect.
And Sam Rockwell truly is great in the film. He manages to bring this beautifully written screenplay to life, with his nuanced and interesting portrayal that truly captures the absurdity of the events he’s thrown into. During the scenes (particularly in the first act) when Rockwell is alone, he still manages to capture the audiences despite his very limited dialogue. Kevin Spacey also gets to lend his voice to this interesting project in a role that is –almost too much– like HAL 9000. This however is the reason Spacey’s character never appealed to me: he plays a dumbed down Douglas Rain except the fact that Rain’s voice is remarkably more chilling than Spacey’s.
The film does not look spectacular, but that is almost a good thing as its gray tones seem to help define the screenplay and themes. The special effects, however, are great and nothing about them takes away from the story, but rather adds to it. The cinematography is really spectacular though, and this is especially noticeable in the scenes that take place on the surface of the moon, where the camera work helps define and showcase the extreme sense of hopelessness and loneliness that defines the screenplay.
And the screenplay! Whoa! Without spoiling too much of the plot, I can say that this film features a frightening concept that truly makes the viewer reconsider reality and individualism. The story is genius and the screenplay really just breathes fire into the concept with such attention to character and situation. But, the screenplay drags. It really drags out the scenes on multiple occasions, and the HAL not-so-9000 also takes away from the film’s incredible ingenuity and creativity by stealing from Stanley Kubrick.
This film is unique, it truly is. And it is absolutely worth watching, even if every aspect of the film is not perfect or maybe a little boring, there is so much to love and think about in this interesting movie. And after watching this film, you really do start wondering where the not-so-unique Warcraft movie came from.
Best Aspect- The story
Worst Aspect- HAL 9000
Rating- 8.7/10 or B+