new film review: city of ember

The setting is extraordinary. An underground city a flicker away from total darkness, kept alight through thousands of streetlamps and suspended lights powered by a hydroelectric generator. Director Gil Kenan’s vision could be described, to coin a term, as grimepunk – steampunk’s proletarian sibling. Post-apocalyptic, decrepit, stylish in its lack of style, a focus on utility rather than prettiness, a patchwork aesthetic of grimy, rusty machinery barely maintained by a peasantry who know what the machines are for but not how they work. The city that gives the film, and the book on which it’s based, its name is like a low-tech, rudimentary analogue to Alex Proyas’ “Dark City.” Kenan gives Ember a claustrophobic, stagnant atmosphere, which is appropriate given that, as the prologue tells us, the confines of the city are all that generations of people have known throughout 200 years of isolation from an undescribed global disaster.
Discover the chilling end to A Tale About a Mysterious Underground City That Could Have Been So Much Stronger. (Also at inkandashes.net, of course.)

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