An interesting, playful and completely unoriginal Sci-Fi movie that wears its influences on it's sleeve.
An interesting, playful and completely unoriginal Sci-Fi movie that wears its influences on it's sleeve. Immediately I found myself thinking that this is what a TV adaptation of Inception (I think I just threw up in my mouth a little) would look and feel like. Granted, if the idea weren't so utterly abhorrent, and given the budget and the right man at the helm, you may actually be able to pull something passable out of the bag, but let's face it, no one on the planet with any degree of self respect would touch it with a barge-pole. Which finds me asking the question of Extracted – If you're going to make a movie that is so obviously going to be held in comparison to such weighty and globally successful titles as Inception, why do it on a shoestring? Surely that's just asking for a beating? Well, it seems that feature film freshman Nir Paniry is prepared to take the risk with his directorial debut here, and I'm afraid to say it's forever in the shadow of it's forebears.
When a scientist creates a machine that will allow someone to enter and observe the memories of another person the government become acutely interested in the device. It's inventor, Tom (Sasha Roiz), is a man of morals and principles, and his concerns for how the device is going to be used in the wrong hands are elevated when a shadowy group arrange a demonstration of the device. Refusing to let anyone else attempt to use the machine, Tom volunteers to demonstrate the device himself. When things go wrong, Tom finds himself trapped inside the memories of a heroin addict, unable to be extracted from the subject. Fearing he may never get out, Tom begins to try and make contact with Anthony, the person who's memories he is occupying, through a series of time consuming processes that involve Tom interrupting memories, in the hope that Anthony will be able to make contact with the outside world and ultimately help release him.
It's like Sci-Fi geek territory, only not quite as successful as it could have been. As I said before, it's really not that it's awful or anything, it just smacks of not a lot of budget being pumped into quite a watery idea. Perhaps one of the ways this movie could have lent a little credibility to itself is with casting. Again, not that Paniry has done a particularly bad job, everyone in it is perfectly acceptable; even decent at times. Sasha Ruiz puts in a reasonable performance as the tortured good-looking scientist for whom things just won't go right for want nor trying, and Dominic Bogart ends up turning in a slightly lack-lustre performance as the troubled heroin addict. I do feel compelled to jump to the cast's defence a little though because the script really does leave a lot to be desired. Despite the potential intrigue that could have been gleened from the narrative, it's floppy and down-right lazy wordplay at best. It's all just a little too “Made for TV”, and I suspect had Paniry stretched his producers a little and gone for a more A-lister to play the main protagonist, the movie might well have done a lot better. As it stands though, it's pretty mediocre.
When it comes to photography, Paniry, again, puts in a decent effort. Everything is framed reasonably well and the narrative is coherent and intelligible. He understands his story enough to get it out without making many noticeable errors, but it lacks the shine that a Sci-Fi movie of such ambition ought to have. The story is strong enough to provoke thought in the audience, but sadly the movie's successes in painting the picture for us in a satisfactory way falls somewhat short. It left me wishing that Paniry had waited until he could get the bigger budget the idea deserved. It was just too soon after Inception and Source Code for this to really break into it's own.
Production values do, in the end, let this movie down. I guess everyone will make their own mind up as to whether the blame for that should lie with the Director or, indeed, whether he deserves applause for doing so well on the shoestring budget he seemed to have. Either way, what we end up with is a disappointing, yet thought provoking, under-budgeted Sci-Fi flick. At best I suspect you'll come away remembering the idea behind the movie, but practically nothing else about it.
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