Rory Cochrane and Mary McCormack star in what has been dubbed an “apocalyptic thriller,” but what I call a compelling human drama. I get the apocalyptic part, but this movie isn’t a thriller. There are no fight scenes, no car chases, and no sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat moments. However, it’s just not that kind of movie. What really drives this movie are the stellar performances by both Cochrane and McCormack, and the intense situation they find themselves in.
Lexi (Mary McCormack) and Brad (Rory Cochrane) have just moved to LA. Lexi leaves for work. Brad, an out of work musician, goes about his morning routine. While mundanely brushing his teeth he hears the life-changing news on the radio that bombs have been detonated in LA. He tries calling Lexi, whose cell phone battery was dead when she left that morning for work. He gets “circuits are busy” or her voicemail alternately.
Deciding that he’s not going to just wait around to find out what’s going on, he jumps in his car, cell in hand, and tries to get into the city. We listen to the reports on the radio with him, telling us that police are urging citizens to stay in their homes to leave the streets free for emergency vehicles. The use of the radio reports as constant voice-overs is an intriguing and well-utilized film choice. This is especially so when the voice-overs carry us from one scene, through the fade-to-black and into the next scene.
The radio reports state that the bombs were dirty bombs containing toxic chemicals that are now being carried by the smoke. Brad heads home to follow their instructions of sealing up the house, still hoping that Lexi will meet him there. He comes home to find the neighbor’s gardener (Tony Perez) in his house, telling him he had nowhere else to go and that they need to seal the house. The two work to seal the house with duct tape and plastic wrap, with Brad waiting as long as possible to seal up the last door. Finally he leaves a box with a blanket, a change of clothes, and some water bottles outside the door, in case Lexi makes it back to the house. From the previews, you know she does. Naturally, she wants in the house, and he has to explain to her why she can’t come in. They wait for further instructions from the radio reports.
The most compelling part of the story is the human drama between Lexi and Brad. What happens when it seems like the world is ending? What do you talk about when it’s almost certain that one of you might die? Did you ever think that the vow “til death do us part” would become a choice?
The movie is intense and emotional. Some of the quietest scenes are some of the most powerful, such as the scene when Lexi talks to her brother on the phone. The end scene, however, is something I didn’t see coming. I’ve seen my fair share of twist endings, but this one’s a real shock. Read the spoilers below if you’ve seen the movie, or just have to know how it ends.
I definitely recommend this movie to anyone with an interest in compelling drama. This is not a thriller, nor is it a political piece. The explosions and politics involved are merely a set-up for us to watch the drama and tension unfold in our married couple protagonists. Mary McCormack and Rory Cochrane did a wonderful job of making this movie an entertaining and heart-wrenching story.
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