The future is impossible to predict. However, within the film Atlantis, there is no clear winner or loser in a bleak vision for Ukraine’s future. The work of Writer-Director Valentyn Vasyanovych (Crepuscule 2014, Black Level 2017), Atlantis initially saw the light of day at various foreign film festivals in 2019 and 2020, but now, the USA gets to take a look via virtual theaters nationwide starting January 29th thanks to Grasshopper Films.
Taking place in the not so distant future, 2025, Ukraine is a war-torn society in need of mending. Tragically, bodies still sprinkle the landscape in a macabre game of hide and seek, waiting to reveal their horror stories to those like protagonist Serhiy (Andriy Rymaruk), a broken man suffering from PTSD and uncertainty. That in mind, further threats to the reparation to Ukraine lay in buried land mines. Everywhere Serhiy turns the political, environmental and economical wasteland slaps him in the face.
Despite some reprieve from solitude in the form of friend Ivan (Vasyl Antoniak: Blindfold 2020), Serhiy’s loneliness echoes through his existence, and he is seemingly destined to search for the missing piece of this new life. Making matters worse, Serhiy is dealt another blow after losing his only real stability – working at a smelting plant. Yearning for a better life, Serhiy discovers hope when he meets Katya (Liudmyla Bileka), and for the first time in years, he sees a light at the end of the tunnel.
Truthfully, Atlantis is misleading as a film title, as the film is about a war-torn Ukraine rather than the mystical place of Plato. While some tout Atlantis as Science Fiction, as well as Drama, the only Sci-Fi element is a mention of new technology and skipping the timeline ahead a couple of years. Fundamentally, the movie is presented in a third-person perspective, revolves around living in a country beset by war, and is told with little dialogue and no fast-paced action.
This makes the viewer’s perspective distanced from the main characters, disabling their ability to care about and join Serhiy on his journey. Furthermore, mundane scenes make up most of the film, with the possible exciting parts already happened and merely mentioned in passing. However, the film is still very much a poignant piece of art that offers plenty for those fans of slower, deeper and more introspective stories that is not necessarily plot driven.
A talented filmmaker with a bright future, some might argue Atlantis is Ukrainian Filmmaker Vasyanovych’s best work yet. And it is a valid argument – it features beautiful cinematography, but most of all, touches on some dark subject matters in an interesting way. For that, it is definitely worth a watch, and this is why Cryptic Rock gives it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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R.L Andrew is a chronically ill Australian writer. When she isn't posting movie reviews for a leading New York Website (CrypticRock.com), RL is reading both fiction and non fiction or alternatively doing what she loves most; writing. From the time she was young, RL has been an avid reader, and was introduced at a young age to the works of Edgar Allen Poe, and Stephen King. This was the beginning of a life long love of horror. RL takes inspiration for her work from her love of all things strange, weird, and the funny situations in everyday life.
RL continues to read and write crossing a number of genres, but still loves watching a good scary movie. After raising three daughters, RL lives in rural Victoria with her husband and furry son, chocolate labrador, Max. She is currently editing her first novel, which she deems ‘soft’ science fiction; A Lunatics Guide to Interplanetary Relationships, and hopes to traditionally publish.
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