A man wakes up to find himself literally alone in the world, and goes about trying to find other survivors, as well as to find out what happened. He suspects that a government research project he was involved in had something to do with the disappearance of everyone.
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If having the world pulled out from under you ever loses its power to disorient and decenter you, well, you'll know you've achieved terminal jadedness--the world may as well not exist for you anyway. Thematically pat but blessedly underwritten, TQE's uncanniness resides, to a large degree, in its mid-'80s New Zealand milieu, which, even populated, would split the difference between the familiar and the foreign.
A film of three acts, in which each act becomes progressively weaker. The atmospheric, darkly comic last man on earth fantasy of the first is great; the Adam & Eve in the new Eden frolic of the second is fun if insignificant; the mystical love triangle finale is just frustrating. A film that always seems on the cusp of something (a clue, a revelation, a feeling), but continually denies the audience anything concrete.
My rate: 55% - Had some promise at the beginning of the film but then it took a quick turn to ambiguity that was harshly under-explained that seemed to drag on and on for me and the muddled ending left me underwhelmed. I wish there were more explanations behind the disappearance of the whole human population!
I'm glad that all these people see this amazingly beautiful, devastatingly heartbreaking SF (not much in Japan because of only VHS...) I can't forever forget this last sequence, landscape and impressively loud orchestra. So wondrous.
Continuing my recent spell of watching little known apocalyptic film (and another dig into New Zealand cinema) finds me watching this well set up but ultimately a bit campy exploration into the final days of earth. The usual opening of desolate landscapes and an abandoned world are well crafted but the further plot developments limit the films ultimate value to me.