Air is the breath of fresh air in that somewhat stale post-apocalyptic genre. Granted, the execution was a bit wobbly, suffering from standard-issue problems for a rookie director. However, there are a few redeeming qualities that make it worth watching. Starring Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) and Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond), this is a slow-burner with a great premise. As you probably know by now, we here at Rabbit Reviews are suckers for menial jobs. May they be space truckers in Space Truckers or space sweepers in Space Sweepers, we love them all. Mostly because they are doing incredibly important work usually without any recognition. Already a cult classic, Moon is the best example of these hard science fiction movies.
Air tells the story of unsung heroes who are usually found dead at the beginning of the movie. And it tells well. I loved the chunky and realistic sets, with a nice homage to the eighties (blinking lights and old computers). And perhaps Fallout video game franchise, one of those I sunk countless hours in. Which wouldn’t be strange at all, since the director Christian Cantamessa wrote Manhunt and Red Dead Redemption video games. And while we’re talking about the retro-science fiction subgenre, we must mention Prospect and Final Voyage. All these movies have that 70s into 80s visual style like Alien, perhaps the most influential piece of science fiction in the last fifty years. Moreover, they have that immersive atmosphere pulling you further into the story.
That which we always feared finally happened. A horrible disaster with advanced weaponry destroyed most of the Earth’s population. It poisoned the air and turned the once-fertile lands into toxic dirt. A small number of survivors in cryosleep are still alive in underground bunkers. Their pods and bunkers are maintained by technicians who are awoken every six months to perform the necessary checks. Most of the time this is a boring and repetitive job. However, when things go wrong it can get very intense…
Air almost suffocates the viewer with prolonged dialogue or lack of it and sluggish action. Luckily, the atmosphere was pretty immersive and creepy along with stellar performances from Reedus and Hounsou. The sense of isolation, loneliness, and futility is all too real. On top of it, you have the realities of working with someone who perceives the world differently than you. Something that we all experienced in real life, only with lower stakes. You can also use the slower pacing to think about what would you do in a similar situation. However, you’re not a fan of the genre, you might find Air a bit boring. After all, this is a low-key movie for fans of the genre. In that case, you might want to check out Passengers starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. It features a somewhat similar story only set on a spaceship with a tighter script.
Director: Christian Cantamessa
Writer: Christian Cantamessa, Chris Pasetto
Cast: Norman Reedus, Djimon Hounsou, Sandrine Holt, Michael Hogan
Fun Facts: Christian Cantamessa got the idea for the story after reading an article on seed banks.