This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Esther Rosenfield’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
People would think more of this film if it didn't have that super-sharp HD look. This film deserves a more romantic cinematographer. This is the only thing keeping me from bumping it up a half-star.
Pretty solid overall, though. Takes an interesting tack on class issues. Rather than the lower class rising up and revolting, the upper class is dragged down to their level. Literally, as a matter of fact. The rich and powerful die pitifully, sprawled out in the dirt, having nothing left but their mortality. Only the characters who never had anything more than their mortality can die proudly and on their feet.
I know that's a pretty banal interpretation, but this isn't a film interested in over complicating itself. Its exploration of its themes is broad and blunt, and it should be. When your film ends with a volcano killing every character, there's no room for subtlety. PWSA's lack of pretension here is admirable, and it lets the film's most fascinating moments breathe unencumbered. Like when Milo refuses to take the revenge that's been telegraphed from the opening scene because the volcano is going to do it anyway. Or the horse ride up the mountain, which implies that the previously established hierarchy of the city ends not with the rich and powerful, but with the ultimate power of nature. The power men hold still can't measure up.
I can't decide if this is a humanist or a nihilist film. Sure, it's saying that death is the great equalizer and that you can't outrun it no matter who you are, but it's also telling you to embrace your humanity because of that fact. Hmm... I guess it can be both. Anyway, I liked this movie.