Friday, May 20, 2011

Def-Con 4

(Paul Donovan, 1985)

How about that – a smart and funny dystopian sci-fi movie from Nova Scotia. Not TOO smart, mind you – beyond the usual nukes’ll-kill-ya setup, the movie has nothing whatsoever to say about the real world. And there’s some serious attention deficit in the character development – every time a new face shows up, someone we were starting to care about fades into the background like it was a baton relay. But in spite of this, the film maintains interest and momentum through a series of consistently inspired set pieces, from the vaguely Dark Star-ish neurotic claustrophobia of the spaceship incitement, to Maury Chaykin’s wacked out survivalist bunker, to the kangaroo court of the military-fascist adolescent ringleader. The character development is only an issue because the uniformly fine actors are having a lot of fun with them. And the punchline is worth a laugh even if you can see it coming a mile away.

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