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Narcopolis

Narcopolis (2015) Movie Poster
UK  •    •  96m  •    •  Directed by: Justin Trefgarne.  •  Starring: James Callis, Kerry Shale, Harry Lloyd, Elodie Yung, Elliot Cowan, Mark Ramsey, Robert Bathurst, Molly Gaisford, Louis Trefgarne, Cosima Shaw, Josef Altin, Adam Sims, Nicky Henson.  •  Music by: Aleah Morrison, Matthew Wilcock.
       In the near future, all classes of drugs have been legalized. Frank Grieves is a 'Dreck', a roaming narc responsible for keeping the black market dealers off the streets and the licenced drugs companies rich. When he discovers a rogue substance in an unidentified corpse, evidence suggests that Ambro, the most powerful drug manufacturer of all, are conducting secret tests on an experimental narcotic. Grieves discovers a second victim - this time alive - but she disappears and he is suddenly taken off the case by his superiors. As his options drain away, it's clear that legalization has come at a heavy price. Is it too late to save the city?

Trailers:

   Length:  Languages:  Subtitles:
 2:05
 
 

Review:

Image from: Narcopolis (2015)
Image from: Narcopolis (2015)
Image from: Narcopolis (2015)
Image from: Narcopolis (2015)
Image from: Narcopolis (2015)
Image from: Narcopolis (2015)
Image from: Narcopolis (2015)
Image from: Narcopolis (2015)
Image from: Narcopolis (2015)
Image from: Narcopolis (2015)
Image from: Narcopolis (2015)
Image from: Narcopolis (2015)
Image from: Narcopolis (2015)
Image from: Narcopolis (2015)
Image from: Narcopolis (2015)
Image from: Narcopolis (2015)
This is a very different type of Science Fiction film. In the reviews that I read before watching this, they threw around terms like "A cross between 'BLADE RUNNER'" and other Dystopian Sci Fi films, but that is not altogether quite true. I listened to the director's commentary, so I was able to gain a lot of insight into what he was trying to do and what his focus was in making this film. What I got from this is that he was HEAVILY focusing on the Dramatic elements of the characters more than anything else. Not to say that the Science Fiction elements are not good too, but that is not really the true focus of the film (it IS in the sense that the ultimate revelation in the story is primarily Sci Fi, but the general focus of the film along the way is not)

Obviously, the director and everyone involved poured their hearts into the making of this film. You can tell that clearly by not only listening to the commentary, but just by watching the movie itself. The acting is excellent all the way through by all involved. It's kind of a nice touch that the boy and the Mother in the film are in actuality the wife and son of the director. The boy is particularly good in his role, and although not really having much experience in heavy duty acting as mentioned by his Dad in the commentary, he did a truly outstanding job, especially in his interaction with his screen Dad.

The cinematography was also very good with some nice shots of futuristic looking buildings from different countries mixed with good contrast among some rather stark UK interior shots. Apparently, they had VERY little money to work with, but considering that, I thought they did a great job of putting this movie together. I really liked the sound design too and thought that it fit the scenes particularly well with a nice mix of Industrial sounds and moody backgrounds that were quite effective.

The director mentions in his commentary that he deliberately left the last act and ending rather ambiguous to the audience, which is fine, I don't really mind ambiguous endings. BUT... and this is just my own lowly and wretched opinion... I probably would have rather seen him kind of 'Punch up' the Sci Fi aspect of the actual story and plot development a little more, and maybe not have almost ALL of the weight of the film resting so much on the Dramatic aspects of the characters and story. Don't get me wrong, the characterizations and interactions, even the rather emotional stuff with his family (which WAS necessary to his character and to the story) was done really well. It's just that for me personally, if you have a real Kick@ss concept like he did, I really would have appreciated a BIT more of that Kick@ssedness on the Sci Fi part of the story and film, rather than leaving it QUITE so vague and ambiguous at the end. In other words, I don't mind an 'Up in the air' ending what so ever, not at all. BUT... being a real avid Lover of Science Fiction, I would have liked to see a more powerful resolution or actual Sci Fi IMPACT at the end, just to give it that special 'Punch' and REALLY make it hit home more effectively. Not giving anything away, but I really DID like the very last scene and felt that that was a great way to leave it, BUT, I would have liked seeing a bit more of an effective 'Punch' leading up to it.

Still though, a very good and superiour Sci Fi film, as long as you DON'T mind it being more heavily weighted towards the Drama than the Sci Fi in the story. Like I mentioned, I personally would rather have had it slanted the other way around myself (kind of like the EXCELLENT French film 'CHRYSALIS' (2007) which wasn't REAL heavy on the Science Fiction, being more of a slightly Futuristic Crime Thriller, but I felt that the Sci Fi elements in it were more effective)

So, going into this film, I would say that if you are expecting a really HUGE Blockbuster type look and story, this movie isn't about that. The look, cinematography, and style are very nicely done, but the Sci Fi elements are very downplayed and low-key. Also, keep in mind as I mentioned before, that this film although being a Science Fiction movie, leans VERY heavily towards Drama more than Sci Fi. The Drama and story are again very well done, but like me, you might not get quite as worked up for a Science Fiction film that is so heavily weighted towards Drama.

BUT... with that said, when the Sci Fi part of the story kicks in about half way through, although a bit vague and maybe not quite as realized as it could be, still, the concept and story are quite intriguing and the film definitely DOES leave the audience wondering and asking themselves what the hell is going to happen next...


Review by lathe-of-heaven from the Internet Movie Database.

 

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