The Survivalist online movie review - Truth Is Beauty
Just finished watching 'The Survivalist', a new Irish post-apocalyptic tale which, along with 'The Lobster', has been the best - and only real - film I've seen all year.
It's undeniably bleak but I found the stillness and subtlety of it to be early on calming and then, when needed, unbearably tense, but entrancing and edifying the whole way through. I'm slightly concerned as to what that says about how I see the world.
It's a small film but perfectly made in every way: every line is flawlessly delivered and not a single word is out of place or unnecessary. There's no flab: every scene, every pause, every glance is there because it needs to be.
What captured my attention right from the start was the rawness, the dread realities of life that any Hollywood film would look away from. This isn't The Hunger Games or The Walking Dead - no PC fairy tale: the females of the species aren't kickboxing in platform heels, waving samurai swords around, or punching men in the face to show them how strong and independent they are. No, in this world - as in ours in time of war or famine or other forms of deprivation and sustained brutality - the men go half-mad through starvation and fear and loneliness and either survive by, or die from, unimaginable acts of violence. And the women survive by first of all offering up their bodies and perhaps later looking for ways to exploit the weakness and benevolence of the men they find shelter with.
The thing I most took away from it was an appreciation of the importance of the hard-won social contract, the delicate web of human reciprocity that we all depend upon to survive, the value of making this unprecedented miracle we are embedded in stay together and function - something that all the most 'progressive' movements right now seem to be hell-bent on tearing down and dismantling: justice, equality, due process, freedom of thought and expression. Science and books and learning and philosophy. Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Human civilization - which the feminists and social justice warriors call 'patriarchy' - is the one thing keeping us from the tooth and claw, rape and murder, dog-eat-dog death and rain-soaked existence of pretty much every other animal on this bounteous planet. And for that to continue we all - or at least something like a majority of us - must be prepared to keep on dreaming the same dream, and agree it's worth both working and sacrificing for.
It's very rare a film can force you to ponder such things but The Survivalist is one of them. It shows with great, aching humanity what truly matters, and why what matters needs to be preserved.
Truth is beauty. And this is a very beautiful film.