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Today we have a short sneak peek of the upcoming season premiere of Brothers & Sisters!
‘Carriers’ was also released in limited theaters in the US today. Check your local theater listings to see if it’s playing near you. You can also read an in-depth review of the film below. 😉
CARRIERS (Film Review)
By Michael Gingold
Despite what the title and poster campaign suggest, the fear that CARRIERS attempts to inspire is not of attack by people infected by a virulent virus, but of catching that virus oneself, and how others respond to that circumstance. That makes this less a postapocalyptic horror film than a postapocalyptic drama in which icky corpses and almost-corpses turn up every so often, but the greatest threat comes from those who are healthy—for the moment, anyway.
Eschewing any sort of prologue explaining the hows and whys of the disease that has ravaged the United States, the movie (which is being given only a token theatrical release by Paramount Vantage) opens with four young survivors driving across the Southwestern desert. Brian (STAR TREK’s Chris Pine) and Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci) are brothers, Bobby (Piper Perabo) is Brian’s main squeeze and Kate (Emily VanCamp), as both she and Danny make clear early on, is not Danny’s girlfriend. The circumstances that brought Kate together with the other three also aren’t filled in, but clearly it’s only survival that has her and Danny sticking with Brian, an alpha male to the nth degree who’s more aggressive and abrasive than even their harrowing situation warrants. From the way he berates his younger brother—derisively calling him “Ivy League,” as Danny had just gotten into Yale before the world came to an end—it’s clear he’s a blue-collar screw-up reveling in the chance to lord it over his formerly favored sibling.
Written and directed by Spanish brothers Alex Pastor and David Pastor in their feature-film debuts, CARRIERS proceeds as a series of episodes keyed to the idea that trust is even harder to come by in this decimated environment than gasoline and food. A protective medical mask is just as vital as a gun when dealing with the other people our central quartet run across over the course of the story, most notably a desperate dad (Christopher Meloni) with a sick little daughter (Kiernan Shipka). Making a decision about what to ultimately do with them is tough—but the choices will be far tougher when the sickness eventually and inevitably strikes one of the four.
There’s a bluntness to the Pastors’ storytelling that serves this material well, as they stick tight to the traveling protagonists. The supporting characters they run across receive no prior introduction; when people have to be abandoned to their own devices along the way, that’s simply the last we see of them. On the other hand, the one-thing-after-another narrative development results in a film that is more effective in parts than as the whole, which doesn’t build up sufficient dramatic momentum and becomes a little draggy even at 84 minutes. While nothing specifically feels missing, that abbreviated running time adds to the suspicion that material which might have made the story richer got left on the cutting-room floor.
All four actors do a fine job fleshing out their roles, with Pine demonstrating a less appealing side of the cockiness he brought to James T. Kirk and well-matched with the spunky Perabo. Pucci gives the very best performance as Danny, who tries to maintain a sense of humanity in a landscape where not much is left, and is similarly effectively paired with VanCamp as Kate, who more quickly discovers her mercenary side. The modestly budgeted film is light on shots of postapocalyptic devastation, though the Pastors succeed in creating a sense of the loneliness and desolation that would follow—with cinematography by Benoit Debie, who conjured tactile visual bleakness in IRREVERSIBLE and CALVAIRE: THE ORDEAL, that goes largely for ironically bright and sunny exteriors instead.
While the atmosphere and behavior feel right, many of the encounters and perils along CARRIERS’ road are overly familiar from past post-plague and similar adventures, from the confrontation with hazmat-suited military types to the moment where someone has to gingerly reach past a dead (or is he?) motorist to grab his car keys. Such scare moments are only sporadic in CARRIERS, since the Pastors are more interested in exploring how the pandemic affects the interior human condition, not the exterior kind. It’s a worthy ambition, even if its development is uneven—and leads to a conclusion that’s more satisfying thematically than dramatically.