Today’s film is the 2013 The British dark Science-Fiction thriller Analogue directed by Tom Bober, written by Tom Bober, Bryce Groves and Peter Strauss. It stars Conner McKenzy, Holly Walters, Az Kola, Peter Strauss and Dagmara Kodlubanski. It is currently being featured on thebestmicrofilms.com.
Analogue is a dark tale set in a dystopian future where a deadly virus know as Virus K has effected some of the ethnic peoples of Britain. Karl (Conner McKenzy) is an employee at a call center who mindlessly goes about his written lines directing the infected ethnic minority to the help centers nearest them. His routine is interrupted however when a voice comes over the phone is one he recognizes as someone he dated many years ago. Maria (Holly Walters) clearly has the symptoms of the deadly virus and Karl is visibly shaken to know that she is infected and after a brief back and forth once more puts the target icon over her home and directs her to the camp to receive the “cure”.
This film is not at all what I expected when I first read the synopsis. I figured it would be your standard Science Fiction thriller with a deadly outbreak and the worker has to go out of his way to save his friend/family member who became infected. What I got instead was a deeply disturbing tale of government experimentation with the goal to cleanse an entire ethnic people out of their population and brought to you in a no nonsense and unapologetic way. It takes a lot of moxie for a fairly unknown director to bring such a film to the forefront in this age when history seems to be repeating itself and Tom Bober has really crashed onto the film scene with this masterfully told story. With the situation in Europe as it is now with the Syrian refugees pouring into many counties it has sparked a lot of violence and hatred among the more radical hate groups and this film is clearly a social commentary on that situation and how the Nazis did it back during World War II. The story however is very subtle with it’s message and the right and wrong of what the “health origination” is doing to these helpless victims told through the eyes of Karl who at first just went along with his work until he was woken up to the horror of what it was they were actually doing. This shows not only a great maturity and professionalism to the writers with their delicate touch to the film but also the skill of the actors to pull it off.
Conner McKenzy is a fairly prolific actor in both short films and television and it shows in his wonderful performance of Karl. The character really starts out as just a mindless drone working the phone banks while ignoring the horrors of the world around him and his part in it. He seems more bored than anything else as he casually places the targets over the homes of the infected up until Maria calls in. His change then shows such a look of horror while still being lock stepped in his role that it is truly impressive. McKenzy brings a depth to the character that you can truly sympathize with him even in the short time you get to know him and that is the hallmark of not only a very well written character but a stellar performance from your actor. The other main performance was done by Holly Walters though you never see her on set. From her voice alone you can feel the stages of her emotions clearly from the moment she calls in panicked to the fuming anger she feels when Karl continues his written speech and not talking to her as a person. It is a really impressive performance that takes a lot of skill to bring when you are a disembodied voice on a headset and Holly Walters really pulls it off wonderfully.
The production value of Analogue is what I have come to expect from British independent films. The cinematography is simple yet wonderfully handled. The camera is fixed and set staring straight at Karl and the picture quality is crystal clear. It never becomes to dark or pixlated despite the room the computer call center is located in is dark and foreboding. The lighting even plays it’s part to bring more menace to the story as the gentle white light from the monitors brush across the blank faces of the men going about their dark and cruel business. It is such a simple set up yet it is shot with such skill that you’d think you were watching a big budget blockbuster instead of a small film that was shot for merely one hundred pounds.
The Audio work of the film is equally as good as the video quality. When most of your dialog is spoken by disembodied voices who are not on the set you must take extra care to make sure everything is perfect. In many films both independent and mainstream you will often get fall off from phone conversations but this doesn’t happen in Analogue. The voices of the characters are sharp and clear and never dip into the inaudible levels so common with low budget projects. The audio is crisp and there are no artifacts, hiccups or hissing to lower the quality of the program and the musical score is fitting for the dramatic tension of the film and never overpowers the actors.
When all is said and done Analogue is a very well crafted Science Fiction tale that will have audiences really thinking about the current state of the world. While it does have a sociopolitical message that is important for everyone it is also a very well written story that is very entertaining for the average viewer. It is well acting and filmed with professionalism of a major studio. If you enjoy Science-Fiction films that have a darker tone then at just under five minutes you absolutely can’t go worth with this film.