Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: Set in the near future, a private detective is hired by an eccentric businessman to track down his missing daughter. He teams up a highly advanced AI to solve the mystery.
Review: What if Blade Runner had a much, MUCH smaller budget? Well considering it would still have Ridley Scott, Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, and that amazing screenplay and soundtrack it would still be epic. But if it didn’t have ALL of those things it might just look a bit like Zone 414.
The film stars Guy Pearce (The Time Machine, Alien: Covenant) as Rick Deckar-sorry, David Carmichael, an ex-cop turned private investigator hired to find the missing daughter of eccentric billionaire Marlon Veidt, played by Travis Fimmel (Vikings) wearing some seriously terrible old-age makeup (although still not as terrible as Pearce’s was in Prometheus).
Veidt isn’t just another rich guy as he’s also the creator of human-looking androids, most of which live in an area called Zone 414, the last place his daughter was seen. With the help of an android named Jane (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz of Rings and A Classic Horror Story) David explores the dark underbelly that exists in this place designed for the rich to live out their fantasies. And in doing so they discover a killer is hiding among them.
Zone 414 is one of those movies that you get the feeling could’ve been great with a bit more money and effort put into it. As I’ve mentioned before this movie is heavily inspired by Blade Runner. From the set designs of eternally wet streets filled with humans and androids dressed in costumes that somehow look both retro and futuristic at the same time, to the cinematography that utilises a lot of neon against dark backgrounds or night scenes, Zone 414 takes place in a future that doesn’t feel that futuristic.
Besides the homage or inspirations pulled from BR, there’s not much else here worth digging into. While I did enjoy the performances by Matilda Lutz and Travis Fimmel (the latter seemed to be having a ball with the odd role) Pearce, who’s usually solid in these types of roles, feels like he’s sleepwalking through the movie. His character is supposed to be stoic but it would’ve been nice if he had more of a connection with his co-star. The mystery itself (SPOILERS BEGIN) is wrapped up surprisingly quickly as the killer is revealed with at least half an hour remaining in the movie. While I did enjoy this, it did nothing to enhance the tension in the movie; quite the opposite in fact as the killer is dispatched with rather neatly and the ensuing cover-up is merely a weak and lazy conclusion about how the rich and powerful stay that way (SPOILERS END).
It’s a shame really as there are moments that do spark interest while you’re watching. There are also a bunch of talented character actors that are on screen for maybe one or two scenes that are totally wasted otherwise.
I don’t mind that the movie is basically Blade Runner Lite; it’s the fact they don’t take any real chances with the themes they explore. And in the end I felt like I was watching the first draft of what could’ve been a really good movie instead of just an alright one.
Sommer’s Score: 5 out of 10
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Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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