The Quiet Earth

The Quiet Earth ★★★★

It's understandable to see why this post-apocalyptic film from New Zealand has achieved the status of becoming a cult classic among science fiction enthusiasts. It carries a high-spirited performance from Bruno Lawrence as scientist Zac Hobson at its centre, who rouses from his sleep to find himself unaccompanied in the world.

The storyline reveals, through a procession of delightfully imaginative scenes, his employment by a multinational consortium labouring on an experimental project to generate global energy by harnessing the power of the sun.

The adaption of Craig Harrison’s novel is brought to the screen remarkably, and Director Geoffrey Murphy goes to some candid lengths in depicting the appearance of the world where people have unexpectedly vanished.

The narrative has a precise midpoint with the first half serving as an investigation of what inhabiting a deserted Earth implies. In contrast, the second half after he discovers two other survivors attends more to how insidious humanity could be in fragile numbers.

There are a few moments of subtle humour sprinkled throughout, with the desolate Auckland locations providing an excellent backdrop for the narrative. It's at it's most visually stunning during the first fifty or so minutes as it paints a riveting picture of what isolation can do and the story produces a delightfully ambiguous and memorable final scene.

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