25 Favorite Films: The Quiet Earth (1985)

What would you do if you were the last person on Earth? The possibilities are seemingly endless and fiction has come a long way to showcase them. The most recent example, Will Smith’s I Am Legend, showed us a flawed way of how a major city would be if humanity were to disappear. I think people are fascinated by these kind of tales because we have this inherit nature of wondering what happened on this planet before us. There was a time where humans didn’t exist and at some point we are going going disappear and leave very little trace of our existence. If we were one of these many protagonists in fiction to be left alone we would more than likely wind up in some sort of feral state. While not going quite that route in 1985; Director Geoff Murphy showcases how insane we could go when we are the only ‘noise’ left.

This kiwi (New Zealand) flavored science fiction movie is fascinating to me because how low budget it is. Instead of trying to get for flashy scenery or go for broke with a twist involving creatures; the movie is just a slow burn. It takes its sweet, old time getting us acquainted with this scientist (Bruno Lawrence) who may, or may not, be responsible for destroying humanity. So many times I see these kind of flicks and realize they do not have the right actor to portray someone reacting to this plight. Bruno Lawrence though gets it immediately on how this is going to go and his decent into madness is breathtaking to watch. For example:

By this point in the film Lawrence is at the height of his madness and loneliness. So he has resorted to making cardboard cutouts to give semblance of people and putting on dresses. Cause at this point why even care what people will think how you act when no one is around? But you can see the grief in his eyes the further he goes because literally the whole weight of the world rest on him. These low budget films always seems to balance its limited effects with superb acting. Shame today’s age of film can’t seem to grasp this kind of balance anymore.

With this film being thirty years old now there may be a good chance you have never heard of it. It is easily accessible on YouTube, in full, and I would urge anyone to give it a shot. It is a slow burn but once you get into the rhythm of it you get a very rewarding experience. While I don’t think I would be so desperate to make cardboard cutouts to speak with I have no doubt some of this would probably happen if I was the last man on Earth. Shame we are never going to actually witness such a thing when it does happen.

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