The Final Land Movie Review

Written by Ilan Sheady

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Written and directed by Marcel Barion
2019, 113 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Sci-Fi London UK Premiere on 19th May 2019

Torben Föllmer as Adem
Milan Pesl as Novak


Two people forced to live out their life in a desert prison colony, discover an abandoned spaceship wreckage and use it to escape the shackles of their planet and onwards to freedom. But this newly found freedom, combined with the infinite vastness of space, brings its own problems. Where do they go and can they get there before fuel runs out, or worse, will the isolation drive them to madness first?

Very little can be discussed about The Final Land (Das Letzte Land in its native German) without ruining many of the discoveries along the way. From its opening disorientating moments to its final, ambiguous ending director Marcel Barion tactfully reveals only what he feels you should know and only as you need to know it. There is a distinctive lack of anything you could describe as an establishing shot meaning you are experiencing everything from the point of view of the interior of the ship. Itʼs claustrophobic, invasive and uncomfortably sweaty. A lot of the typically minor events like finding a rag, fixing the air con or cleaning a turbine, where most films cut away to represent a passing of time, are observed in excruciating real-time.

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Characters are explored as a natural conversation between two strangers and at no point do you, the observer, know anything more than the travellers you are forced to accompany. At one point, the crew narrowly misses an encounter with an enormous city-like ship. What this structure is, who the inhabitants are and what they would do if they were aware of the tiny blip outside their fortress is as much a mystery to us as it is to Adem (Torbe Föllmer) and Novak (Milan Pesl).

But itʼs their actions that both define them and separate them. Where Adem wants to make contact Novak wishes to evade them at all costs, neither having the evidence to back their gut instincts.

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The greatest charm of The Final Land is in the design of the ship itself. Rather than opting for a sleek aerodynamic piece of tech, we are presented with bigass buttons, levers and software running in MS-DOS mode. Nostalgically it reminds of a future as promised in the original Ridley Scott Alien with space travel relying on industrial style transport with leak-prone pipes. The Final Land feels like a film that could have very well been made in the late 70s before we were aware of Xenomorphs and how space can potentially be full of horror, but our crew doesnʼt have this luxury. They have little idea or imagination as to what space has to offer, only a conflicting view of what their destination should be.

Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, in their 1993 hit song ‘Amazingʼ, spoke the immortal words “Lifeʼs a Journey not a destination”. Itʼs very possible that someone said it before him but they didnʼt have Alicia Silvertstone in their music video at the time so I was unlikely to remember it. Unfortunately ‘the journeyʼ, in this case, can be tediously uneventful. Danny Boyleʼs sci fi masterpiece Sunshine split audiences with its sudden horror-style-twist ending when up until that point it was a beautifully shot and musically iconic space drama.

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For those unhappy with Sunshineʼs change in genre, The Final Land offers a glimpse into how it may have looked had things been different. The differences being a distinct lack of action, brutality, beauty, and personal space. What The Final Land has instead is an Odysseus style pull to its conclusion and a desire to look closer at our protagonists, their experiences and motivations and while that doesnʼt sound like a thrilling adventure it is a brilliantly scripted, excellently performed and stunningly filmed one.


Movie: 4 Star Rating Cover

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