On Friday, the The new film by English writer and director Alex Garland, 51, Men, premieres in theaters. Garland is not a celebrity author on the scale of your Martys, your Quentins, your PTAs. But for people obsessed with twisted, awkward, and finely calibrated science fiction, a new Garland project is very important. Menabout an afflicted widow caught in a bucolic horror, she is already being enthusiastically reviewed.
I consider myself a garland cape. I fell in love with him after 2007 Ground, a very underrated Danny Boyle film about a group of doomed astronauts (they have to shoot the sun!) for whom Garland wrote the script. I thought I had seen everything he had done; I even read some of his fiction. But last week, as I was reviewing my Wikipedia entry (classic Garland Head activity), I learned that I was lost. Dredd. The 2012 adaptation of the cult comic 2000 AD Not only was it produced and written by Garland; according to his star Karl Urban, Garland also took on the role of director of Pete Travis. In the years immediately following DreddGarland established himself as one of our best working directors with his (official) debut. Ex Machinatheir follow-up Annihilationand the television series Developers. Dredd is a soundtrack comic film, which seems a direct contrast to Garland’s delicate works, so it makes sense that the film is rarely mentioned when fans discuss their most visionary projects. But as I learned this week in my inaugural visualization Dredd-it should be.
The plot is thankfully simple: in a ruined world, Dredd is a judge, effectively a state-sanctioned watchman. On a journey with a novice psychic mutant Judge (played by Olivia Thirlby), he is trapped in a massive residential block by a crew named Ma Ma Clan. To survive, the judges have to practically kill everyone: Violence begins immediately, and never, never stops. The brains are shattered, the heads melt, the bullets pierce the cheeks. Blood, guts, and body parts splash wonderfully, kaleidoscopically. In interviews, Garland said he was inspired by high-speed photography of nature documentaries: “Can you turn violence into something purely aesthetic? Can it be so abstract that it becomes really beautiful? I say it with all sincerity: it can really be said that this violence was created by someone who cared.
This commitment to the material, to the manufacturing Dredd the best version of itself: it shines everywhere. Domhall Gleeson, future star of Ex Machina, offers a twist wonderfully attached to the cliché Tech Guy reluctantly employed by Bad People. The dialogue is solid, necessarily drawn, but there’s also a quick summary of how we’re all just meat in a giant meat grinder, and the judges are just spinning the giant handles of this giant meat grinder, which is grotesquely entertaining . Despite the big, bloody traps, the story revolves around the relationship between Urban Dredd and Thirlby’s rookie judge. He feels genuinely human.
And if there is an undeniable elite element Dredd, are drugs. The Ma Ma Clan makes money by making a narcotic called Slo-Mo. You take it through an inhaler; it slows down life all the way doooowwn. Whenever a character indulges in sucking a Slo-Mo inhaler, we see a sad world transformed. Garland worked closely with VFX supervisor Jon Thum to achieve the right effect. He said they worked on it until the end of the post-production to find out “how far you can take the viewer into a strange hallucinogenic space … how far you can go.” Slo-Mo does what any good fake movie drug should do, which is to make you want to be able to try it in real life.
The question of whether Dredd should “count” as an official Garland-directed film is hard to answer. When the Los Angeles Times first reported that Garland had taken over the average production, Garland and Travis reacted with a joint declaration / attempt at peace: “From the beginning we decided on an unorthodox collaboration to make the film. This situation has been misinterpreted “. He LA Times He also quoted a source as saying that although Travis “is no longer involved in post-production, he is still making progress on the Internet.”