"Philosophy students at an international school in Indonesia must decide who among them would survive a hypothetical nuclear apocalypse."
The premise of this film is almost exactly the same as the premise of The Knowledge: What skills should be preserved during an apocalypse, in order to rebuild civilisation afterwards?
A class of around 20 philosophy students (plus their teacher) participate in a thought experiment where each of them picks a card which assigns them a skill-set. Based on the value of each individual's skill-set, the class must decide which 10 of them will be given places in a bunker to protect them from an imminent nuclear war.
My Review: [MINOR SPOILER ALERT]
Great film premise; the cast is fairly diverse; the scripting is fair quality and acting is raw and very real; the cinematography is stunning (especially in the Indonesian setting) yet also sensitive; special effects are to die for. Characters could have used more fleshing out, for both the audience and the actors themselves (in my opinion) - mostly they seemed a little stiff, and lacking the extras that are the boundary between playing a character and being a character.
The individual "plots" within each iteration of the thought experiment are well-paced, well-thought-out, and engaging - I found myself thinking up advice for the class and having to refrain from speaking to the screen.
It really was a gem to watch. Apart from the overlying plot.
This is where this film falls flat. Embarrassingly.
I just feel like the potential that this film had was completely wasted due to the overall plot. I also feel duty bound to warn any potential viewers, since at the time it was an extreme let-down. The past 80 minutes of beautiful film suddenly seemed worthless, and it felt like a physical punch to the gut. (see below)
[MAJOR SPOILER ALERT]
The teacher (Mr. Zimit) is a total a**.
- He's in love with his top student (Petra, the female main character).
- She's been seeing him while also dating the bottom student in the class (James, the other male main character).
- Petra chooses James over Zimit.
- Zimit can't deal with this because he thinks James is not intelligent enough for Petra.
- So Zimit rigs the thought experiment from the start to make himself and Petra important and James unimportant - trying to prove to Petra that James is logically "not right" for her.
- As Petra continually chooses James (and also quickly figures out what has happened) Zimit becomes more and more unpleasant, even threatening to fail her if she doesn't do what he wants.
He handles it so poorly that he drags an entire class for which he is supposed to be responsible into his self-produced drama, upsetting everyone to some extent and leaving the class with a lasting bad impression of him.
One whiny, jealous guy exaggerates his problems; then makes them everyone else's problem.