After the Dark (originally titled The Philosophers) is a great mystery thriller with a truly unique premise. For their last class, twenty philosophy students in an Indonesian school have been put to the task of deciding which ten of them should be saved in a hypothetical, post apocalyptic scenario. The students are randomly assigned different occupations, will be the only survivors after living in a bunker for a year and will have to restart civilization as we know it. Who do they pick? Who will have to die? How do you make that kind of decision? How do you weigh the value of a musician over a structural engineer? Should it be strictly utilitarian or should emotion be part of the decision? These are the kind of questions that these students ask themselves as they go through a couple different iterations of the same scenario.
I loved the concept and the thought process that you are taken through during the movie. The young cast includes Sophie Lowe, Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), Rhys Wakefield and the teacher is played by James D’Arcy. Everyone pulls their weight in this film; it’s rare and refreshing to find such a talented ensemble on a relatively unknown film.
This film is also visually stunning. We go through three different iterations and they all take place in vastly different terrains. If nothing else, this movie is beautiful to watch. It really takes advantage of the Indonesian backdrop and, although most of the scenes are the result of a highly skilled visual effects team, it draws a stunning picture.
I only have two complaints with this film. The first is that the tension in the film is a bit of a farce because everything is hypothetical. I suppose that can’t really be a complaint because that is the nature of the movie, the whole point is that they are having a philosophical debate about a hypothetical scenario. It’s just that you become so engrossed in the scenario that it’s a little deflating when it’s over and all that happened was a discussion. On that note, my other complaint is that the end of the movie, the resolution, is anti-climatic compared to the incredibly high stakes that are present through the rest of the film.
Overall, this is a great film that leaves you considering what you would do in the same situation. It’s tense, the acting is great for such a young cast and it’s visually stunning. Watch it tonight!