Written and Directed by: #Randala
Film review by: Brian Penn
In a world still coming to terms with Covid 19 you’d think the last thing we need is a film portraying the effects of a society destroying virus. But maybe that’s the reason many will be drawn to Phoenix Point. Set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland with more than a passing nod to Mad Max, it presents a frightening vision of life. A deadly virus has killed millions and conventional society has collapsed. The virus cannot survive in hot temperatures so arid desert provides the only real sanctuary. Survivors live a chaotic existence in ramshackle settlements devoid of hope and spirit.
Jack Ladd (Jon Jacobs) is an opportunistic drug dealer on a quest to find the cure. Richard McDonald (Daniel Murray) is his argumentative wingman and driver. Their car breaks down and begin to squabble about their next move when ambushed by Spyder Rico (Brion James) and his feral gang. Addicted to mind altering drugs with a tendency towards cannibalism they could barely have run into anyone worse. However, there are compensations for Jack as he becomes acquainted with fellow prisoner Edie (Kelly Williams). A grand odyssey ensues as they encounter a variety of characters ravaged by the virus and its inevitable fallout. The only vaguely mechanical object that seems to work is the radio. This enables DJ Refugee to lay down his observations on the unfolding chaos.
A breath taking simplicity is evident as the landscape is used to great effect in the visuals. The sun’s heat is almost palpable as characters sweat, blister and dehydrate in the conditions. As the central character Jack’s motivation is never entirely clear. Is he seeking the cure just to ensure his own survival; or is he also trying to make a fast buck from those desperate for the antidote. Whilst the subject matter is alarming and explicit, the film still manages to convey an engaging narrative. We can watch with some comfort because Covid hasn’t wreaked quite the same havoc portrayed here. The idea that things could be much worse is a concept of which we should never lose sight. In the words of DJ Refugee ‘Stay tuned live longer’. Amen to that.