Susan (played by Eva Green) is a scientist – her specialty is the identification and management of community disease, particularly epidemiology. Michael (by Ewan McGregor) is a chef – he leads a relatively solitary life, but is engrossed in his work and takes pride in the enjoyment others get from his food. One day, he takes a break from his kitchen to have a cigarette in the back laneway. He sees Susan at her window and they exchange a couple of words. But she is in no mood to chat as a strange new disease has afflicted several people in the city and she’s trying to identify it, so she can help them. As the days go by and the mystery illness continues to perplex Susan, the number of afflicted grows … symptoms include a loss of the sense of smell. Michael’s friendship with Susan progresses, as does the disease – it spreads around the world and the symptoms worsen – people start to lose their taste, then their hearing …. it’s clear this epidemic is out of control, societies are losing their governance and the world as we know it will come to a grisly, tortuous end. Susan and Michael face the last days of the world with the mystery illness progressing, they are powerless to stop it – just as they are powerless to stop the love that is developing between them …..
Wow, what a movie this is … it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It starts out as a normal romance drama – two people with totally different lives go about their days without love – one feeling they’ll never find love, the other never wanting to be involved again … they meet … etc. Yes, this does that, but then the wrap-around story is intriguing – the notion that with all things known and familiar to people being lost, somehow the human spirit prevails to find something that still confirms the “joie de vie” … the joy of life. When smell is lost, then taste is lost… will people still want to eat out? What’s in memories and a relationship once people can’t detect scent and remember aroma (good and bad) from past experiences? how would each of us face knowing we’ll slowly lose our ability to taste? hear? and see? In this movie the actors are all challenged and I’m sure they would have found this immensely satisfying to work on. Eva Green and Ewan McGregor must portray the full gamut of emotions from joy through confusion and anger to violence and sheer hysteria and mindless mania. The performances by several of the cast are excellent – particularly McGregor and Green, but also Ewen Bremner, who I hadn’t seen since “Trainspotting” – he was great. No surprise that this movie was nominated for Best Movie awards in the 2011 Bratislava, Edinburgh and Philadelphia Film Festivals and won awards at both Edinburgh and Philadelphia. It’s great – the chaotic hand held camerawork in parts, adds to the sense of helplessness – it’s a very compelling movie. The ending is appropriate and well executed …there’s no sugary sweet “happily ever after” here … Very well done.
Made in 2011. Directed by David Mackenzie