Directed by Marc Forster
Written by Eric Roth
Produced by Sam Mendes
Music by Michael Nyman
Photography by Emmanuel Lubezki
Edited by Michael Kahn
Shia LaBeouf (Marc Heald)
Natalie Portman (Andrea Goldman)
Diane Lane (Samantha Heald)
Sean Bean (Gregory Heald)
David Strathairn (Dr. Bernard Goldman)
Elle Fanning (Maggie Heald)
Tagline: "There are always rays of light over the darkest clouds"
Synopsis: Marc opens the nuclear refuge’s door after he hears the radio notice about the end of the quarantine. He awakes his little sister Maggie, it’s time to find the rest of his family. The big nuclear explosion forced them to stay hidden in their own refuge several weeks, separated of their parents who were in the other side of the country. The radio recommends to leave the zone and to flee to a surer place. The radio has been their only way to be communicated, it has been the only link with the outside all the time. Phones, cell phones, internet… nothing works and everybody feels lost and left.
Marc and Maggie start a hard and chaotic journey to the south. They will try to arrive to the train station but everybody has started a massive exodus and no one offers help, so their only way of transport is an old and broken bicycle. The roads and highways are collapsed and many people will try to steal their bicycle. The panic is getting bigger because the acid rain is a real threat. They arrive to the Station but Marc, inevitably, loses his sister in the crowd. People separate them without remedy when the train arrives and Marc is pushed to the train while Maggie remains in the alighting-place. He, desperate, tries to stop the train but it’s impossible and he will have to wait to the next stop. The rain has started to fall and to go outdoors is forbidden.
Andrea is a medicine student who has lost the train that should carry her to a campaign hospital, managed by her father, to help as a volunteer. She sees a little girl on the floor, absent, and she takes care of her. The little girl seems to be ill and Andrea decides to carry her to the hospital in the next train, leaving a message in the reception window. Dr. Goldman and Andrea take care of Maggie but she has leukemia, as many others in the improvised hospital. Andrea distribute Maggie’s photo everywhere to find her family. Meanwhile, Marc dedicates all his effort to find her sister, fighting the illness, the death of many of his trip’s pals, the hunger and the big cloud above him, but he has to find his family.
Senator Gregory Heald and his wife Samantha try to use their influence to take a flight to come back home, but political power is not enough to get into the contaminated area. The military don't allow them to enter the zone and they assure that there's nobody there but the dead. Greg and Samantha decide to go to their favorite places to leave messages to Marc and Maggie with an appointment in a certain place. They go to all the hospitals to check the lists of the deaths and ills and they will meet Andrea but it is too late. Marc arrives to the south, he has found one of his parents messages. They finally meet in his grandmother's home. She has Alzheimer and she is sitting in the porch, calm and absent. She is foreign to the whole disaster around her. Marc parents are in the kitchen but he can’t see Maggie anywhere.
What the Press would say:
This film is a free adaptation of an infantile book written by the German novelist Gudrun Pausewang. The original action occurs in Germany, in the 90s, when the Chernobyl tragedy was almost forgotten. In this adaptation the writer Eric Roth moves the action to north America and the real authorship of the nuclear catastrophe is not clear because, for him, the most important thing in the film are the victims, how they feel and how they solve their own chaotic situation. They don’t know if they are living a terrible accident or if they are the victims of a nuclear attack but they know that they have to fight their own war to survive. The plot is treated with sensibility and respect. The screenplay is one of the best things to remark because the election about starting the film when the catastrophe and the danger is over, turns the story into one of the most incredible experiences of the last years. It is not a movie about a catastrophe in the commercial way of the word, even showing frenetic action scenes because the emotions flow all the time.
Marc Forster knows how to transmit those emotions, the desperation of the characters and why they feel small and left. Other of the points is the fact that they are prisoners and the film shows how big is our dependency of the modern technology.
The actors and actresses show their best, being at the top of the circumstances with an amazing talent and intuition. Only a few times we can see a solid cast like this with this professionalism. Great and deep characters like Shia LaBeouf’s Marc Heald, a guy who grows in all the 120 minutes of this film showing his change from the childhood to the maturity. Natalie Portman character is a contended woman crossing a difficult situation and she is capable to control the chaos around her and to solve it. Strong characters with strong performances make this film one of the most amazing experiences in theatres in times.
Best Director: Marc Forster
Best Adapted Screenplay: Eric Roth
Best Leading Actor: Shia LaBeouf
Best Leading Actress: Natalie Portman
Best Supporting Actor: David Strathairn, Sean Bean
Best Supporting Actress: Diane Lane, Elle Fanning