Tuesday, November 18, 2014

731. The Quiet Earth (1985)

Running Time: 91 minutes
Directed By: Geoff Murphy
Written By: Bill Baer, Bruno Lawrence, Sam Pillsbury, from novel by Craig Harrison
Main Cast: Bruno Lawrence, Alison Routledge, Pete Smith
Click here to view the trailer


Had I remembered that Geoff Murphy was also the director of Utu, another film I watched for THE BOOK and one I loathed, I probably would've been a lot less excited to check this one out. As it was, I didn't recall the name until I typed it in as a tag on the blog and my history remembered it. I had to track this one down online, as Netflix had recently moved it to the "save" section of their site, meaning it's "temporarily" unavailable.

For the unaware, The Quiet Earth is a post apocalyptic survival story (four words that usually make me sit up and take notice). One morning, scientist Zac Hobson (Lawrence) awakens at 6:12 and at first, nothing is out of the ordinary. A dream jarred him awake, one where the sun seemingly exploded. A quick peek through his venetian blinds and he's reassured that the sun is still in the sky, business as usual. He turns on the radio, only to hear white noise and gives a quick call to the operator, only to be met with constant ringing, no pickup. He starts to panic a bit, getting dressed and leaving his apartment, he notices that there's no one in the streets, no one...anywhere. He goes to his lab and it's revealed that Zac was part of something called Project Flashlight and all we need to know is that something went wrong with the project and now Zac is seemingly alone on Earth. He tries hard to find other signs of life, sending out a repeated radio broadcast that states his name, phone number and address, prompting anyone listening to stop by or call him. He paints his information on billboards and goes through the streets making noise, hoping someone will stir. All to no avail. Zac begins to go mad, dressing in a ladies slip and staging a presidential address, declaring himself to now be the president of the world, by default. He regains his bearings just in time to meet up with Joanne (Routledge), a redhead whom he embraces while she's still a stranger. The two are more than happy to see one another and make it their mission to find other survivors, which they do - in the form of Api (Smith). From here, the plot gets a little more involved and actually takes a slight nose dive, but this picture is well worth your time.


I barely looked at anything regarding this film: a quick jump to IMDB to rate it and a visit to ICheckMovies to check it and still I happened into a one or two comments from people saying that they were enjoying this movie right up until the point that Joanne was introduced. I can totally see that point of view and in a way, I wish we could've kept it to just us and Bruno Lawrence. I find that when new characters are introduced after the audience has spent significant time with only one main character, the audience can take it as an intrusion, as we've already begun to form a bond with that one character. I definitely took Joanne's intro as an intrusion and just when I got used to her, I even moreso took Api's intro as an even greater intrusion on the threesome I was having with Bruno Lawrence and Alison Routledge (that sounded way more gross than I intended). However, what would our endgame have been with just Zac? Furthermore, was the endgame that involved the three of them exciting enough? Let me tell you how I think things should've went down...

So we're told that the reason Zac, Joanne and Api survived the "effect" was because at the exact moment that it occurred, they were all in the moment of their own death. Later, not long after they figure that out, Zac figures that the effect is going to happen again. Okay, so since they know why they survived and since they know that it's going to happen again, here's how I saw the end going. They realize that in order to survive again, they'll have to kill themselves. Zac figures that the second effect will take place at 6:12 on a precise morning, so the trio plan to commit suicide at that exact moment. Then you could still have your open ended ending with the three of them walking down the beach, not really realizing if they've died or lived, succeeded or failed. Instead, they wrap the three of them in a love triangle and it gets a bit confusing. Did Joanne and Api know one another before they even met Zac? It all got a little dull for about thirty minutes there and I have to say, I just wasn't that crazy about the ending with Zac driving the explosives truck into the lab.

Anyway, this one held my attention pretty well though outside of those nitpicky things and even that thirty or so dull minutes, which was more than a minor nitpick really. I will say that the concept is completely original to me, despite a few minor plot holes (or maybe there weren't plot holes, it's a lot of information to process and at times it just feels a little too unbelievable). The whole last man on Earth, post apocalypse, trying to survive thing is always a synopsis that interests me and while I think I'd would've have preferred something a little less intricate and with one or two less characters, this was always entertaining, interesting and intriguing. It's also a breath of fresh air in a season of movies that have mostly been hard to sit through. I'll definitely be remembering this one come TOP 20 time and thanking THE BOOK for a discovery that I'd have never made on my own.

RATING: 7.5/10  While "Tokyo Olympiad" was closer to the '7' mark with it's '7.5', I'd say that this one was nearing closer to '8' territory with it's same rating. Good stuff here and a recommendation.


November 18, 2014  8:46pm


  1. MMmmm..
    I have only a vague recollection of feeling so-so about this one. Nothing that bored, upset or angered me, one I was moderately pleased to have seen, but certainly not one to Email someone to say 'hey, watch this'.
    So please excuse if I don't go into discussing it that much.

    1. See I thought you'd be more excited about this one. Am I wrong in remembering that you like sci-fi films A LOT more than I do?

  2. Well.. I'd not list sci-Fi as a decided like. There are some I do go for.. but let me just say if I had to tick a selection of boxes for a profile on something like this as what I 'like', then, no, I'd pass on the Sci Fi box.

    1. Yeah, I wouldn't check that box either.


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