August 25, 2020

Beholder & Exploring The Bleak Dystopia Through Movies

Beholder

Posts about the bleak, dark and crushing dystopian future are nothing new for me. However, Beholder is quite a new experience for me. And to be perfectly honest, I quite enjoy writing about games from Eastern Europe. Let’s just say, they’re not that prevalent in my daily repertoire. But I have plenty of other reasons for mentioning Beholder here in this post.

First and foremost, the Beholder post is just the last of many that I wrote here at IndieGala, which had a sort of dystopian motif in them. Posts about car racing in a dystopian future, and even about survival in such an environment. And secondly, we do have plenty of Beholder games currently on sale here at IndieGala. There’s the original Beholder game, the sequel Beholder 2 and even Beholder-Blissful Sleep.

And yes, all of them are on sale, in case you were wondering.

However, it seems appropriate for me to introduce the game before I get to the movie portion of the post. So with that in mind…

What’s Beholder All About You Might Ask?

Beholder

Well, it’s about life in a dystopian future. It’s grim existence in which a totalitarian state controls every aspect of private and public life. Furthermore, the laws are oppressive, and surveillance is total. And of course, any form of privacy is dead. It’s also an adventure/strategy game developed by Warm Lamp Games and published by Alawar Entertainment. You’re playing as a State-installed manager of an apartment building. Your daily routine involves making the building a sweet spot for tenants, who will come and go. However, that is simply a facade that hides your real mission… Why? Because the real mission is to covertly watch your tenants and eavesdrop on their conversations. You must also bug their apartments and search their belongings when they’re away. And of course, you must profile and report anyone capable of violating the laws.

Have You Seen Beholder – The Short Movie?

Indeed. There’s a live-action short film for Beholder, and since February of last year, it’s available on YouTube. Additionally, the movie was made by Nikita Ordynskiy and Liliya Tkach and it stars Yevgeny Stychkin in the lead role. The role of Carl that is. You can watch it here, as its 10 minutes long but it does come with plenty of subtitles. But for now, I’m going to focus on feature-length movies that also have the same theme. And I must admit. There are plenty of great dystopian movies out there. 12 Monkeys, Blade Runner, A Clockwork Orange, Dark City, Fahrenheit 451, Gattaca and even The Hunger Games movies. Which ones ended up on my list? Scroll down to find out.

1984

Here’s a fun fact. Exactly 2 years ago, I had the pleasure to meet the 2 time Academy Award winner Roger Deakins. Just months after his Oscar win for Blade Runner 2049. He was being honored for his body of work, and I got to spend about 15 minutes picking his brain. His very humble and very genius brain. We talked (over some nice white wine) mostly about his movies and his favorite directors. It was at a cocktail party event before the opening of a film festival, and among the few questions I got to ask him was about his work on his „lesser-known“ movies. Sure I asked him about Shawshank Redemption, Sid and Nancy, The Big Lebowski and Barton Fink among other things (well i’m not insane not to).

Roger
Me and Mr. Deakins before the official event

But we also discussed Mountains of the Moon, Passion Fish (personal favorites I might add) and of course about 1984. The first thing he mentioned was… “Oh my god!… Nobody asks me about these movies anymore. They seem to be forgotten in most people’s minds.” But he mentioned that he loved working on that movie since he loved the George Orwell book. And of course, he loved working with John Hurt and Richard Burton (since it was his last movie). I’m glad that he has such fond memories of that movie because it’s not exactly the most pleasant. But yeah. I loved that movie as well. I highly recommend it. Oh, and the cinematography is incredible, but come on. It’s Roger Deakins we’re talking about. Of course, it is.

The Handmaid’s Tale

No, this is not the TV show with Elizabeth Moss in the lead role. 27 years before the TV show there was a movie adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel. And it starred the late Natasha Richardson in the lead role. And it’s surprisingly a decent adaptation (with slight changes) and with an equally decent cast. The Academy Award winners Robert Duvall and Faye Dunaway are also in the movie. So is Elizabeth McGovern and one of my 90’s crushes Aidan Quinn. The movie is provocative and thought-provoking as it’s disturbing and downright scary. If you’re fans of the TV show you might give the movie a try. 

Brazil

Brazil is what you’d call the love child of Franz Kafka and George Orwell. A weird, absurd and tragic movie about the daily banalities of totalitarian bureaucracy. As told through the eyes of one low-level government employee. It’s also the movie in which I fell in love with Jonathan Pryce, and I’ve been a fan of his work since. The great Robert DeNiro is awesome in Brazil as well, and so are Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin and Ian Holm. And if you’re unsure of the reception that the movie has now 35 years after the premiere, just know that it still holds 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. Furthermore, the ending still breaks my heart to this very day, but it’s still a god damn cinematic masterpiece nonetheless.

Equilibrium

Equilibrium is one of these movies that I spend years and years defending, but now I really don’t have to. The opinion about this movie has changed, and the years were kind to it. I suppose all we had to do is leave it to age like a fine wine. Because this is one of Christian Bale’s finest movies, and I’m not even joking. Set in a dystopian future in which emotions are strictly forbidden, Equilibrium is part Sci-Fi dystopian movie, part action flick filled with excellent combat choreography. Not to mention, the acting from Christian Bale and Emily Watson is top-notch. Oh spoiler: Sean Bean dies, but you already knew that right? Watch it if you have the chance. I highly recommend it.

Which Movies Would You Add-In This Beholder Post?

Which movie would you add here? Gattaca maybe? Perhaps comedies like Idiocrasy? Or some of the Mad Max franchise? Tell us in the comment section.

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