Stars: Peter Barron and Hannah Jones
|This film was an official selection at the 7th annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival in Phoenix in 2011. Here's an index to my reviews of 2011 films.|
It begins stylishly with a dusty old car sputtering along some sort of manmade canal until it peters out. The driver, BK, is in a gas mask, while his passenger, Pandora, covers her mouth with a makeshift fan. Otherwise they wear formal attire, as if they might be on their way to the opera rather than to search the wasteland in an increasingly desperate attempt to find one working movie theatre that can screen the reel of film they carry around with them like a prized possession. The desperation springs from the young lady being in bad shape; Pandora is weak and coughs up blood. I'd suggest that she might have TB if this wasn't a science fiction movie; here I presume she's afflicted with whatever calamity ravaged the planet. In an interesting approach that deliberately mirrors the era of cinema that the film reprises, BK and Pandora never speak, for reasons which become apparent later, but few of the other survivors they encounter during their quest have any lines either.
The key name behind Picture Show at the End of the World is that of David Rusanow, which is all over the credits like a rash. He wrote and directed, for a start, but he also edited the film and its sound and provided its visual effects. Bizarrely he didn't shoot the film, given that most of his credits were earned for cinematography; he handed that role here to Graeme McMahon. IMDb lists this as Rusanow's third short film as a director and it's an assured piece that would fit well in anyone's portfolio. My problems with it mostly tied to its middle , which felt hollow and inconsequential. What we see is decent enough and the cast and crew did their jobs well, but I had a strong feeling that the middle ten minutes could have been anything. I visualised a stack of parallel universes where the beginning and end of this film remain identical, while the middle is unrecognisably different. Yet none lose the overriding drive of the piece, which is contained in its bookends. Would this be better as a five minute film or as a feature?