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On the Beach review
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The last refuge of mankind

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This film about Australia as the last refuge of mankind after the final nuclear war was based on a book by Nevil Shute and the screenplay for a 1959 film (with Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner). I have read/seen both of them, but they failed to move me as deeply as this one did. This film has a special place in my heart.

There are probably a few reasons for it being so important to me. I grew up only 30 km from the Iron Curtain (remember it?), at a time when my country was part of "Battlefield Europe" and I was living at the edge of the "Fulda Gap". This film put a few of my recurring nightmares on-screen. But it's not only that it connected to my experiences, it is also a pretty well written script. The characters, even the minor ones, make an impression, they are not just decoration for the leads but you get to care for them --and it hits you hard when the first of them is going to die (long before the main characters). Since this is a doomsday film, noone's going to survive, but still, hope springs eternal... The story Nevil Shute tells in his book is how people deal with certain death. This film updates his story for the 21st century, and in my opinion succeeds in making the characters believable as of the year 2006. I could actually connect to them and their experiences, something I failed to do while reading the book.

There are a few interesting choices in cinematography and the score by Christopher Gordon (of "Master and Commander" fame) has some very interesting pieces, that can stand alone.
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Added by CaveatVideot
9 years ago on 30 April 2008 20:42




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