Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Robert Hloz.
Starring Andrea Mohylova, Matej Hadek, Vaclav Neusil.
Science-Fiction, Czechoslovakia, 113 minutes.


Reviewed as part of Glasgow Film Festival 2024.


This science-fiction potboiler will no doubt capture the interest of the more discerning genre fan by the film’s geographical location alone. Those expecting something wholly original and with something more to chew on thematically than most recent sci-fi films and shows may find themselves a little short changed with what is on offer here.


Director Robert Hloz’s debut feature is set in a not-too-distant future where a major rise in violent crime has necessitated the creation and widespread use of a technology that allows the recently deceased to spring back to life. The catch is that the user/victim needs to back up their memories to a personalised neural device that records and logs your life. This allows the user to be reborn carrying on their life from what is referred to as their “restore point.” However, failure to back up after forty eight hours can result in permanent death. A terrorist movement calling themselves River of Life believes this technology makes a mockery of life itself and has been terrorising users by withholding the lifesaving option from them and murdering them without their back-up. Detective Trochinowska, investigating these murders, finds herself neck deep in a conspiracy after investigating a double murder that pulls in River of Life and the mega-corporation behind the life altering tech in a few surprising ways.


While the concept itself provides an enticing hook it is hard not to feel a little short-changed when it is only used as a plot device to drive its whodunnit mystery aspects instead of exploring its otherwise convincing future scape where death itself has been conquered. Those expecting something along the lines of the Blade Runner films, which managed to combine real thematic exploration along with eye popping visuals, may find themselves impressed by the snazzy tech details but left wanting more to ponder over once the end credits have rolled.


The technology and architecture on offer here is convincing enough and looks a treat; the massive towering buildings and non-lethal self-driving cars go nicely along with the titular technology, although it is a bit of a stretch to believe that this will all be accomplished within seventeen years when the film is set and I cannot even get my printer to work properly right now.


The plot clips along at such a pace however that you do not dwell too much on these details when watching. Andrea Mohylova makes for an interesting protagonist as Trochinowska and the conceit of one character not noticing their behaviour, whether due to self-delusion or otherwise, is more fully fleshed out. The films loose ends are tied up far too neatly in a deflating fashion that leaves no room for ambiguity. With a bit more focus on its enticing world and the genuinely life changing properties it possesses this could have been a smarter, more involving sci-fi noir. As it stands it satisfies just enough as a passable piece of sci-fi and no more.


Iain MacLeod.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans