Written and Directed by Tom Paton
Starring – Jade Hobday, Marc Zammit, Adam Bond and Luke D’Silva
The place is Earth and the time is indeterminate. What is known? An event called “The Great Reset” occurred, thus sending the surviving populace back to a more primitive way of life.
A number of generations have passed in the years following the “Reset”, and many communities adapted to a tribal form of existence. One such tribe, The Varosha, are now preparing for the emergence of their new leader, and the elders of their tribe have chosen three candidates from this new generation.
The chosen three must journey out with the current tribal leader to face harrowing trials that will prove the worthiness of each candidate. In the end, only one of the candidates can return to serve as the tribal leader. So begins the tale of our three candidates: Eiren, Ares and Thade.
Eiren is a strong willed and enigmatic young woman, who was orphaned at a young age.
To say Ares is a power hungry, arrogant and selfish young man is to understate the obvious.
Despite his imposing stature, Thade is reticent and awkward, making him a questionable candidate at best.
Prior to the start of their trials, the group meets up with the tribes current leader, Nus, by way of an impromptu test of their awareness. It’s at this point that the candidates are given what will likely be their easiest task – find their way to the birthplace of their first tribal leader, where Nus will be waiting with further instructions concerning the trial.
En route to their destination, Thade stumbles upon a trap and injures his leg (likely hindering any chance of becoming their new leader). Rather than be burdened by helping Eiren carry Thade or assist in any other capacity, Ares journeys on alone. Regardless, Thade and Eiren still manage to find their way, albeit at a much slower pace.
As they convene in preparation to begin the trials, a strange woman arrives in their camp, clutching a metal box. The woman tells the group that the box contains a relic that gives the three leaders of her tribe their god-like power.
With this relic resting in their camp, Eiren, Ares and Thade may be facing dangers beyond that of their tribal ritual. In the end, will there even be anyone left standing to take the roll of tribal leader?
Tom Paton directed this film based on a script he penned himself. His post-apocalyptic tale takes a turn from what most are used to. Paton takes us out of the desert wastes and places us in an arboreal setting, thus giving the viewer the sense that nature has endured and somewhat taken back the planet.
The characters are all a bit stereotypical, and much of the dialogue comes across as clunky and forced. I only cared even a little bit about the fate of one particular character in the movie, and I think the viewer is basically guided in that direction intentionally. The plot is lacking in any real depth and the ending is fairly predictable.
One element concerning the artifact contained in the box does send a message about the perception of power and how we attribute it to individuals. Sadly the message seems wasted here.
I’m not really sure what genre specification it should fall into because science fiction, thriller, horror…none of them seem to fit. It could fit somewhat loosely into the action category, since the actions sequences weren’t very intense.
There was also a real inconsistency in the performances, ranging from wooden to completely exaggerated. The only one of the bunch I can really single out for their acting would be Jade Hobday for her portrayal of Eiren.
Hobday’s character seems like the logical result of placing Lisbeth Salander in middle earth as a ranger. She’s tough, but guarded and very unrelenting in the face of chauvinistic attitudes. Given that she has such an expressive face and eyes, Hobday still should have striven for much more subtlety in her acting overall.
I’ve considered the fact that perhaps the performances came across as they did to show language skills may have regressed due to being passed along over generations outside of the typical educational settings. Then again I’m probably over rationalizing…I’ve done it before.
The production values are pretty good considering the budget was merely an estimated £75,000 (that’s $91,566 to you and me, Russ). The cinematography team of George Burt and Martyna Knitter did a very respectable job shooting this film. Especially when you take into account that the largest portion of the film takes place in a very low lit, yet beautiful wooded setting.
In the end, I think this is a film that could have benefited from a “Great Reset” of its own. I also think that Ms. Hobday’s acting career will benefit from getting herself out there where she can be seen, even if it’s in this film.
All things being considered, I would have to give Pandorica 5 /10.