New Life hits close to home as it follows one woman’s journey to stop an apocalyptic pandemic, all while dealing with her failing body.
PLOT: A mysterious woman on the run, and the resourceful fixer assigned to bring her in. Their two unique stories inextricably link, as the stakes of the pursuit rise to apocalyptic proportions.
REVIEW: After 2020, it’s hard not to watch a movie about a deadly virus and be thrust back to that time. A pandemic film is more realistic because of the indirect effect of that year. When I would watch a movie such as Outbreak and the tension would rise, I would often scoff at how quickly it all got out of hand. 2020 showed that we care more about comfort than the survival of the world. The viewer is initially confused by New life. We follow Jessica Murdock, played by Hayley Erin, on the run. She knows that there are people who are after her. We don’t understand why, but the pieces start to fall into place. I love it when a movie puts you in the middle of a story and gives you enough respect to be able to put together the puzzle on your own. The whole experience is very rewarding because there’s not much hand-holding. I think that movies tend to spoon-feed their narratives out of fear that the audience will not understand. This can be frustrating for the more observant viewers.
I was very confused with Jessica, as she seemed to be unable at any point to understand the situation. She doesn’t seem able to grasp that she is the one who caused it all, even after seeing body after dead body. She’s ignoring her problems at one point and is essentially trying to start a new life. This may seem reasonable at first, but once we understand where she’s come from, she will be able grasp the gravity of her situation. Jessica became increasingly annoying to me because of this. I would have liked to see her marching to death to save the planet. Jessica is shown to be very selfish. But this scenario is never mentioned. I find it fascinating how people judge someone’s quality of life based on their right to live. Elsa (Sonya Waltger) was recently diagnosed with ALS and has chosen to specifically go after this deadly disease. The reasoning is that she’s dying anyway. It’s a message that I find very personal. Add to that Walger’s amazing performance and Elsa becomes one of the most intriguing characters. I’m curious to see what happens next.I’m not sure if I wanted more from the story, but there are many talented people involved. There’s a lot to latch onto in
. From the performances to cinematography. John Rosman, the writer/director, has me intrigued for his next project. He shows that he is capable of tackling big ideas in a grounded manner. The end result is satisfying, even though I would have liked to see Jessica develop a bit more. There are many messages to be taken from this. But I think the most important one is the value of life not being so black and white.
NEW LIFE premiered at FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL 2023
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