There’s a city with builders that just keeps getting built and humans somehow lost control of it and are now treated as pests to be exterminated by the various safeguards and things. Zuru lives in a village that is protected by a barrier but they are running out of food and so must venture into the city for supplies.
There’s something very disappointing about a movie that has a really cool setting and premise and then essentially does nothing with world or character building to bring either to life. Blame has everything it needs to be a pretty good sci-fi film and yet it settles for being a mediocre action viewing experience that spends so little time on its characters you’d be lucky to even remember three names by the time you get to the end of the film. Certainly it isn’t working at building any kind of emotional connection to these drone like and interchangeable cast members.
Still, it isn’t bad. Blame’s biggest issue is that it isn’t as good as it could have been and that left a really sour taste in my mouth which made it hard to really focus on what it was doing well. I said it was mediocre action viewing, but the action is pretty good. From a visual point of view the movement and explosions are all very effective and if you just want to watch desperate people trudge about for most of the first act and then scurry in fear as the few major players duke it out in the second, you’ll actually get a fairly solid viewing experience.
Still, if you are after explanations, character motivations (beyond the obvious), a world that feels like more than a group of set pieces strung together, Blame is going to fall short of the mark. And no where is this truer than in Killy.
Killy originally rescues Zuru when she has led a group of younger people out of the village in search of food and of course for the sake of narrative convenience they run afoul of the exterminaters. I will point out over half of the party die and other than a few uncomfortable moments when they first get back to the village no one ever mentions these dead characters again. Considering how much fuss is made later over another character dying (and again she wasn’t the only character to die in that scene) it just seems really unnatural. Blame wants the audience to care about this death so the characters will make a fuss. These deaths were just to show you how spectacularly powerful these machines are. Don’t worry about these characters and the other characters won’t either.
Back to Killy. With very little discussion or actual reason, Zuru brings Killy back to the village. Zuru actually seems to have imprinted on Killy because she spends most of the rest of the movie either following him or hovering in his vicinity. They don’t seem to actually interact much and I don’t actually know why she’s hung up on him or if they ever even speak together again because as far as I can recall they don’t. Yet for some reason he has this incredible impact on her and that’s something the closing monologue wants to emphasise but it makes no sense because nothing we saw really warranted that kind of connection to have been forged.
The other characters to just seem to accept Killy. No one actually asks him the questions the audience would like answered. We get a few hints here and there and an antagonist pretty much tells us something we’d mostly figured out by sheer guess work in the end but where did Killy come from? Why was he so fixated on his mission? How did he survive that long? Nothing. Silence.
We know nothing about him. We know what he is seeking and that is the full extent of our knowledge of this character. Seriously, even Arnold as the Terminator had more personality.
There’s some cool technology and ideas floating around in this movie but again, don’t go waiting for any kind of explanation or elaboration. This is a case of cool concept, where’s the detail.
Basically if you have a couple of hours to kill, you could do worse than watching Blame, but it isn’t exactly something you should prioritize.
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