The Apocalypse Man (2012)

Hi, Nate here. So last month I was pretty hard on a movie made in Finland so I thought I’d give the Finns a chance to redeem themselves with another review. Finland actually has a pretty high-quality cinema industry with some great acting talent and cutting edge directors to go along with a surprising amount of state-funded film schools. A lot of these young directors are gaining some renown for producing excellent films in a variety of genres, often with a unique Finnish touch, and winning awards at festivals across Europe. Sadly (for me), The Apocalypse Man is not one of those high-quality films that can go snowboot-to-smellyfeet with the snobby Frenchie film buffs at Cannes. It’s a complete piece of shit.

Why do I say that? Because it’s a complete piece of shit. Didn’t I just say that? Anyway, the “plot” is that some sort of “apocalypse” has hit the world (or at least Finland) and all the people are “gone”. Is the ground littered with corpses ravaged by packs of well-fed feral dogs? No, that would cost money. Are the cities and towns shattered hulks of broken masonry and smoldering fires? No, again, that would cost money. Are there any scenes of attacking aliens from the Crab Nebula or plague-infested howler monkeys released from Gub’mint labs or even Rooskie nukes raining down in atomic hellfire? Heck no, all of that would cost money, and clearly the filmmakers either had none to begin with or they blew their entire kickstarter account on heroin and a new Volvo. Don’t expect any sort of backstory or flashback or anything, just know the apocalypse happened.

We do get this nice tire.

What we do get is one guy who is touted to the be “lone survivor” (spoiler: he ain’t), a shaggy-bearded twentysomething in an Army surplus coat and $350 hiking boots who the camera follows around as he “explores the wastelands of post-apocalyptic Finland”. And by that I of course mean that we see him wander along a road for a bit and then spend 80% of the runtime sitting by a lake eating rabbits and staring wistfully off into the sunset. For some inexplicable reason (see: heroin) the director decided that we the audience really needed to see this nameless guy sitting there in a slacker stupor for 20 minute stretches at a time before he gets up to wander around a bit before sitting back down again for another 20 minutes to enjoy some quiet introspection on the beach. This goes on in a interminable loop for the movie’s entire 47,638 minute runtime, though it’s possible that my version may have been edited for content…

The dude.

I should also mention that our survivor guy does not say one single damn word the entire movie. Not one. Nothing. Sure, ok, I get it, he’s “all alone” and “the last of his kind” (spoiler2: still not), but even I talk to myself every now and then and my court-appointed therapist says I’m absolutely totally fine. All movie long I was waiting for him to say something, always figuring that he’d speak out at some dramatic moment where it would have maximum emotional impact, but such a moment never comes and as the final credits rolled I punched my laptop screen in a futile rage.

Hey, buddy, where you going?

We also get to see his penis. A lot. I get that Europeans are a lot less hung up on nudity than us prudish Midwestern Americans, but still, put that junk away, my cats don‘t want to see that. All the full frontal stuff does make it clear that this guy has survived the “world-ending apocalypse” quite well. Despite the total collapse of Western Civilization and the death of billions, he’s still managed to trim up his hipster beard and brush his teeth between takes and he’s also found a laundromat that still has electricity and Tide on his infrequent strolls through the Provincial Park behind the film school that stands in for the “post-holocaust wilderness” because his coat and pants are spotlessly clean and pressed in every shot.

He should really get those moles checked out.

How did he survive when everyone else died? Don’t know, movie never addresses that. Is there something special about him, is he The Chosen One or blessed with Immortality or something? Your guess is actually better than mine. Is he destined to gather together the frayed threads of humanity and repopulate the wounded Earth and bring it back to its former glory? Nah, I think he’s pretty much just going to sit on that beach and smoke cigs and watch the seagulls. Then he might take his clothes off and wade around in the lake a bit just to air out his wanker.

And maybe eat some ‘shrooms, man.

Is he truly “the last man alive” as the film’s blurb says? Well, no, not really. There’s a guy who drives by in a Peugeot, another guy in a gasmask who shows up for three seconds, some dude in a hoodie who may or may not be a figment of his imagination, plus someone is still broadcasting on a radio station from the east in a sexy Soviet accent. Does our protagonist do anything exciting with any of these encounters? No, it’s not that kind of movie. Does he attempt to find other survivors now that he knows he’s not really the last one? Well, that would just be silly, wouldn’t it? Back to the lake, young man, sit your hairy ass down on that rock and silently contemplate your navel for a few more days/months/eternity, we’ll just wait right here.

This other guy might be a dream.

In the film’s last scene, the guy has a chance to blow his brains out and end his (our) misery, but he fails to do even that, deciding instead just to stand there and mope like some stoner Finnish college kid who agreed to give up a couple weekends to act in this movie in exchange for some Xbox games and extra credit in his Fundamentals of Film 401 class. Silent to the end, unlike me who had some choice words for him by the third act.

I hate you so much.

The end. Don’t watch this movie.

Written in October 2013 by Nathan Decker.

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