Written by Christian Cantamessa and Chris Pasetto
Directed by Christian Cantamessa
Sony Home Entertainment, out now on Digital HD and DVD
Following a world-destroying catastrophe, what’s left of humanity is contained in various Noah’s Arks beneath ground. Custodians are woken every six months for a couple of hours. But when something goes wrong with one of their cryogenic units, it’s a desperate race against time…
Effectively a two hander, Air feels very much like a throwback to the dystopian films of the 1970s and 1980s, with elements of 2001 and Silent Running thrown in. We don’t really need to know that much about the catastrophe that causes them to be underground, although you can piece together quite a lot from the news footage that shows in the background (there’s rather more information given than a lot of reviews would have you believe!).
Norman Reedus and Djimon Hounsou are the two very different blue-collar workers who have to put up with each other for two hours every six months – enough time for them to check everything and have a little bit over to get on each other’s nerves. Reedus’ Bauer is an extrovert and self-centred man, while Cartwright is more buttoned-up, holding conversations with an imaginary woman. When Cartwright’s cryogenic unit catches fire, it seems that there is no way that both men can survive.
This is a claustrophobic movie that belies its small budget – if you look at the two short featurettes that accompany it on this DVD you can see how ingenious director Cantamessa and director of photography Norm Li have been working on Brian Kane’s sets. The film works well because of the relationship and chemistry between the two lead actors – their characters need each other, but there’s no way that you could describe them as friends, and when push comes to shove, as it inevitably does, the chasm is revealed.
At 90 minutes the film doesn’t outstay its welcome, and there are a number of twists that will affect how you view the characters – there are far more shades of grey to this movie than initially appears to be the case. But then, that’s what you’d expect with The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman as an executive producer…
Verdict: Although there are moments where it descends into two men chasing each other round a darkened room, Air is a refreshing antidote to the big screen blockbusters of late… 7/10
Watch for a chance to win copies of Air coming later today!