Directed by Richard Mundy Starring Andrew Kinsler Indie Film Review by Lorenzo Lombardi
Twenty Twenty-Four crafted a set and almost tangible atmosphere to a degree of quality I have rarely found in this year’s releases of indie films. Heck, it is superb in most aspects. The audience will feel thoroughly compelled throughout these 88 minutes of pure psychological and absorbing terror.
Starting with an overview of the ongoings of this universe, the audience is instantly aware of the global fallout that is feared to occur at any time. It is also revealed that bunkers were built and that scientists are individually assigned to each bunker to maintain them for the expected disaster. The film is about a scientist named Roy (Andrew Kinsler) and his time maintaining a bunker called Plethura.
Taking a page out of morose one-man performances such as Sam Rockwell in Moon, Kinsler plays a man dealing with isolation and dread astoundingly. His fear stems from the impending doom of the world and his responsibility of taking care of humanity’s “salvation” (as his company suggests), which is convincingly evoked through his analogical dialogues and questions with Roy’s robot pal Arthur, the only true sense of company in the bunker. There is a well-written and intriguing dynamic in many of their conversations, as Arthur often tries to understand human emotion and Roy vents to it the laments of his mind.
Twenty Twenty-Four took 3 and a half years to make. That was mainly due to the fantastically nuanced set that is the Plethura station. Because of its intricacy, the audience is never taken out of the film. It is an immersive location, and this is furthered through mostly practical effects and props. Everything looks real and accordingly placed, even the CGI parts --- like a hologram being transmitted --- are impressive.
Evoking Sci-Fi classic Alien, the location’s aesthetics and a question of whether the character is alone or not makes the film more like a psychological horror in the second half. While I expected an out-of-place tonal shift, Twenty Twenty-Four achieves this with creative ambiguity and use of sound. The score is conducted to undeniable eeriness by Harry Kirby. It is experimental in a The Shining-esque way, making you nauseous with screechy violins and generally distorted notes. Echoes and mechanical noises of the bunker also serve as a soundtrack of sorts, adding uneasiness.
Fundamental themes are brought up meaningfully. While this story is more personal, the nuclear crisis backdrop makes for a well-written conversation concerning the violent nature of humanity. Arthur, the robot, also serves as a device for themes of consciousness and technology, as well as a clever counterpart to the main character, Roy.
My only gripe with this film is the sometimes stiffly delivered dialogue that is uttered. Otherwise, what tops this film’s all-rounded quality is the cinematography, direction, and editing. Nick Barker shoots visceral one-point perspectives and amazing tracking shots while editor and director Richard Mundy implements many fade and superimposition cuts to play with the audiences’ minds until the admirable slow-burning builds up to a jaw-dropping final act. Richard Mundy’s first feature is one of this year’s indie triumphs.