The Blackout

3 out of 10

Macho Men

I stumbled upon The Blackout while scrolling through movies on Amazon Prime Video looking for something different to watch. I can definitely say that The Blackout is a different type of sci-fi thriller than I am used to watching. But is it any good?

The whole Earth is plunged into darkness except for a small area of Eastern Europe, which eventually is known as “The Circle of Light”. Most of the population of Earth is considered to be dead except those that happened to be in The Circle of Light. No one knows what happened, how it happened or why it happened. The Blackout follows some very Macho Moscow Men who are part of a crack elite military team as they venture into the areas surrounding The Circle of Light to find answers.

There are two unnecessary romances that weigh the film down. One is between macho man Oleg (Aleksey Chadov) and Alyona (Lukerya Ilyashenko). Another is between Oleg’s macho friend Yuriy (Pyotr Fyodorov) and a tag along reporter named Olga (Svetlana Ivanova). Neither of these romances work, neither of the couples have any semblance of onscreen chemistry. And the time spent fleshing out these relationships burden an already slow-paced movie.

The movie is slickly made and features some high production values. The special and visual effects in The Blackout are well done and sometimes strikingly good.

The script by Ilya Kulikov features big ideas, but the ideas are all wrapped in a snooze-fest plot that plods along slowly. The film runs just a little bit over two hours long but felt a lot longer than that. This movie could have used the help of a better editor to bring the running time down to 90 minutes – the first thing that could be cut are the romance subplots.

I do like how Kulikov develops the ideas about humanity and why we act the way we do – more in the spoilers section.

The score for the film is an electronic/techno score. It strangely fits the movie and makes the movie feel like a videogame – especially near the end when director Egor Baranov turns the knob on violence from “pew pew” to “holy hell, what?”

As a science fiction thriller, there’s not much thrill. The science fiction part is decent. In the end though, this movie moves a little too slowly and has quite some glaring plot holes for me to recommend it. The ending of the film also makes no sense at all. The Blackout has some great ideas but suffers from so-so execution.

Watched at home, streamed on Amazon Prime Video.

Spoilers

I loved the the explanation of what humanity really is from the alien named Id (Artyom Tkachenko). Having humanity as an extraterrestrial virus used to cleanse a planet is pretty cool and very interesting. Id’s explaination of humanity’s incessant need for procreation and violence is also interesting and fits the story that is being told.

Also, there was a genuinely intereseting take on religion and how humanity completely botched understanding what it was really for.

I question the naming of the different aliens that are on Earth: Id and Ra.


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