Aliens in the area
thriller, science fiction
Director: Egor Baranov
Cast: Peter Fedorov, Alexey Chadov, Svetlana Ivanova, Konstantin Lavronenko, Lukery Ilyashenko
Premiere: November 21, 2019
Russia, 2030. For 10 years, Moscow has changed so much that what Gorky Park is there – they built up the entire capital with neon skyscrapers and launched drones into the Moscow sky. However, the development of technology does not help to avoid a disaster: a powerful blackout is rolling around the world, and after that, due to an unknown ailment, almost the entire population of the earth dies. Moscow, Belarus, Ukraine and, oddly enough, Finland remain intact. The people are ready to break the chain, religious fanatics scream about the end of the world, and the military, who themselves do not really know anything, hang out at the outpost and are about to move from a safe zone to a mysterious province.
Shot from the movie “Outpost”
Films of Yegor Baranov – let them most likely be shot under the close attention and strict guidance of producers – are rich in unusual settings. That “The Nightingale the Robber”, that the trilogy “Gogol” – in all of them a rather stereotyped story is compensated by unusual aesthetics. “Outpost” is no exception. In it, Moscow is a kind of cheap analogue of Los Angeles, Ridley Scott, a technological and cultural center, if not of the whole world, then at least Russia (in the latter case, however, hardly changes in comparison with reality). It’s funny how the image of the capital and, for example, Kirov, in contrast, is a gray place with sickening panels and wastelands, where almost “Tsar Koschey is languishing over gold.” It is precisely in contrast to the futuristic and archaic that the aesthetics of the Outpost is built.
Shot from the movie “Outpost”
Parallels with current political and social problems, which in the world of the future, of course, were bound to become aggravated, are not limited to this. During armageddon, citizens are surprised that even in the news they began to tell the truth, and scenes with riots and clashes between frightened people and law enforcement agencies recall with memories of recent protests. Finally, a constant fear of war arises in the narrative, which Muscovites are cautiously talking about – what is not an echo of our time? Although in the “Outpost” this is not hidden. The setting is new, but the faces and behaviors are the same: the drunken redneck in the club, the militarist Yura, who can only realize himself on the battlefield, or the journalist Olya, who talks about her personal experience of domestic violence (this sounds especially true in connection with the news about the bill) . But there is no politics – either the world of the future is too good for the ruling elites, or, more likely, the ruling elites are too good to portray them in the notorious fictional futuristic world.
It may seem that the “Outpost” is thought out to the smallest detail and draws a single social statement. But he is more likely to be good at pointy and well-marked images, rather than a systematic approach to understanding reality. The same applies to its genre component. Either a zombie movie, or a fantastic thriller about alien invaders, or an action in general – it too often pulls out motifs from different canons and as a result turns out to be not very attractive Frankenstein’s monster. Okay, the superficial visual elements of cyberpunk in the cinema, but interweaving frames from Tarkovsky’s films or Gigerian images is a rather pointless occupation and only emphasizes the non-independence of the picture. There are interesting solutions, and they are primarily associated with the abundance of cheaply drawn, but still blood, to which the average viewer of the domestic mainstream is not used to (one of such moments is when the military travels through the crowds of zombie suicidal provinces). However, more often in the “Outpost” they simply do not realize the potential of the episodes, breaking them off with editing gluings and moving on to the next storyline or shooting so that you can hardly make out what is happening on the screen.
This movie is sweeping too fat concept. It seems that “Outpost” would be more comfortable to exist in the form of, if not a series, then at least a dilogy (as, however, it was originally intended). The very history of the collapse of the old world, public panic, the struggle of a person with the creator and the whole philosophical debate about the depravity and weakness of people, played out throughout the film, require much more time than Baranov’s cinema offers. You do not have time to immerse yourself, for example, in the story of the warriors who went to the Kirov “exclusion zone”, as history makes a horse move and talks about aliens and provincials who survived and acquired something like superpowers. Sounds weird? And there is.
For the synthesis of drama and genre cinema, which the Outpost unsuccessfully pretends to be, there are a lot of crutches on both sides. For the first – too archetypal, for the second – too slow and mournful. And the most painful thing is that the heroes seem to be outside the plot: they simply wander around the locations and only at the end become part of the landscape of history.