Monday, October 2, 2017

Mateo Gil's REALIVE (Proyecto Lázaro) finally hits theaters just prior to its Digital/VODebut

Made in 2015 and first released in Europe last year, the new film from Spanish filmmaker Mateo Gil (Open Your Eyes, The Sea Inside, The Method, Blackthorn) entitled for America REALIVE (it original monker Proyecto Lázaro had already been used over here as The Lazarus Project) just opened theatrically this past weekend in very limited release and will hit home video tomorrow. Anything by Señor Gil (shown below) -- as writer, director or often both -- is worth checking out, and so it is once again with this better-than-average sci-fi drama.

The subject here is that old sci-fi staple, cryogenics, which has been with us at least since the rumors of Walt Disney on ice, In Gil's hands, the subject becomes not only a tale of body freezing and returning to life-after-death but also a love story (perhaps two of them), as well as a kind of modern-day Frankenstein re-do (without all the snips, scars and stitches). What distinguishes the movie, however, is its insistence of forsaking the usual plot machinations and thriller-film action cliches for a much more quiet, ruminative, philosophical approach.

This is most clearly seen in the voice-over narrative that begins the film and remains in place throughout. The tale is told in a kind of flashback/forward, past/present combination by the story's not-quite hero, a rather self-involved commercial-approaching-fine artist named Marc (the very beautiful and relatively unusual in that he actually looks good bald actor, Tom Hughes, shown above and below), who becomes the first human to have been successfully brought back to life after decades of frozen slumber.

As we learn more about Marc's life and loves, along with his relationship to his on-again/off-again lover, Naomi (Oona Chaplin, below), a character more fully develops.  Eventually we learn much more about why Marc had chosen this particular route and, of course, the intended and unintended results of his decision.

This gives Gil the opportunity to explore, along other subjects, morality, commitment, and the ethics of science -- all of which he does to good effect, simultaneously offering us more and more to question and wonder over. The filmmaker's use of flashback is, as ever, very well-done, and his spare but effective use of futuristic settings, as below, works well, too.

In the supporting cast are France's Charlotte Le Bon as Marc's pretty/sexy post-op caregiver (below), a woman who may have even deeper feelings for our flash-frozen hottie.

Also on view is the primary doctor, shown below, for these proceedings (Barry Ward of Blood Cells) who, of course, has his own agenda plus a trick or two extra up his semi-sleazy sleeve. If the film's ending(s) may seems more typical/obvious than necessary, what has come before should make the movie worth your time. It's generally elegant, beautiful and thought-provoking, and this alone lifts it a notch above the usual sci-fi (and above most of what its distributor, SYFY -- Sharknado, anyone? -- generally offers).

Running 112 minutes, the movie, now playing in a few theaters  -- including the Cinema Village in New York City and the Arena CineLounge in Hollywood -- hits VOD and Digital HD tomorrow, Tuesday, October 3 -- for purchase and/or rental.

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