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Kraftverk 3714 - Film Produktion Print E-mail
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Written by Ed Fir   
Saturday, 12 January 2008

Kraftverk 3714 - DVD

AKA: Reality Shift
Directed by: Markus Widegren
Written by: Fred Anderson, Markus Widegren
Produced by: Fred Anderson, Anders Östlund
Cinematography by: Markus Widegren
Editing by: Markus Widegren
Special Effects by: Team FX
Cast: Maria Bergquist, Emil Jonsson, Sandy Mansson, Anna-Sara Kennedy, Michael Mansson, Anders Östlund
Year: 2005
Country: Sweden
Language: Swedish
Color: Color
Runtime: 136 minutes


Video: PAL R2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo – Swedish (English, Portuguese, Swedish Subtitles)
Distributor: Skrik Horror Video
Official Website: www.flim.se/kraftverk3714/

http://severed-cinema.com/images/horizon.jpg

When watching movies, whether we like to admit it or not, we go in with all kinds of preconceived notions.  We clamor for something different, but not too different, something new but somewhat familiar, stories can get bizarre and surreal, but only if we can easily explain them.  It’s one big mind fuck if you think about it.

And then we attempt to critique a movie we’ve just seen, to form an opinion about it, with all these ghosts of movies past haunting us.  Who can review a John Carpenter film without, at least at some point, comparing it to “Halloween” or “The Fog”?  What genre hound is watching Wes Craven’s “Red Eye” without pining for the “Last House on the Left” menace?  We’re always anchored; it seems, by the things we like.  We want more of those pleasurable things, more of the same – only different.  What price experimentation?

Lest we forget, before “Halloween”, Carpenter toiled away on other things unbeknownst to genre fans.  Craven was off doing soft porn.  If we had stumbled upon them in those formative years, what would we have made of them?  Would we have predicted the greatness to come?  Or would we have poked holes in their early efforts and written them off?

It’s all very difficult to accept, yet I was faced with these thoughts and ideas while watching “Kraftverk 3714”.  This is a film from nowhere, from people you’ve never heard of, and a land you’ll likely never go to (Sweden).  This is a film that swings wildly from creepy, to amazing, to silly, and back to creepy again.  It’s not perfect, but this is definitely a brave and classy foray into the realm of European science fiction.

At least for me, this was also an experiment in experiencing formative film careers coming together.  Oh, for sure this wasn’t the first cinematic experience for most of the people involved, but at least to my knowledge, this was a fledgling effort in genre filmmaking.  And how far low-budget filmmaking has come!  Digital SFX now allow young filmmakers to achieve things that would have been impossible just ten short years ago.  No longer is the realization of the fantastic a hindrance to filmmakers.  A fast computer, some fancy software, and the requisite artistic skills in hand, and amazing things can be created on a budget that would have rendered the film lame in the past.  What’s more, it’s all on display here.  If those starting in the business have any doubts about what can be achieved, just view this film.

Staring adversity in the face, the makers of “Kraftverk 3714” blasted through danger signals that lesser young filmmakers might have shied from.  Science Fiction is a notoriously difficult genre to do right, but they tried.  SFX is often a weak point in low-budget films, but they did them with great aplomb.  Tension can be difficult to build, but they do it.  Aided by other-worldly locations, the cinematographer here places us both of, and beyond, this world presenting a great little package.

Weaving a story that employs a Dario Argento lookalike who is possessed by aliens, mixed with portals through time and space (reminiscent of Fulci’s “The Beyond” at times, where spatial rules are broken to great effect), throwing in zombies too, and the film includes all the mystery and suspense you could hope for.  Will the world be saved once again?  Hey, you never know!

Viewed on a technical level, “Kraftverk 3714” is unimpeachable.  The camera work is well done, the (at least to me) no-name actors do a credible job, the director is good, and the SFX are at times astonishing.  Add to that a soundtrack that is extraordinary, and you have a movie package to delight film fans (the jazz inflected music used for the opening credits is quite brilliant, I wish there had been more of that, it’s like a modern Morricone during the height of his giallo prowess). 

That’s not to say it’s a perfect film.  Yes, occasionally they were perhaps a little too brave, their bravado leading them to making some errors of judgment, but all-in-all, you have to wonder just what this group of people will be able to produce once they master all aspects of filmmaking.

Its weaknesses derive from a couple of areas.  Firstly, the film needs a good editor.  At two hours and twenty minutes, it sadly feels a little drawn out.  There are a lot of top-notch filmmakers who would struggle to fill this kind of running time, and these people don’t quite pull it off either.  Frankly, the storyline doesn’t warrant the time we spend with it, short and sweet, that’s how we like them.

A second aspect where I think improvements could be made is in an area that I have, up to the point, praised; the SFX.  I can understand that young filmmakers get sorely tempted to attempt to do everything they can to impress, but once again I must say that sometimes less is more.  At times, especially during the final fifteen minutes of this film, it felt as though they were trying hard to impress by throwing everything they could possibly do up on the screen.  Some of it works, some of it doesn’t.  And yes, one moment (when two beings float down from the sky dressed in red garb) actually made me laugh with its hokiness.  As the greats such as Hitchcock knew, it’s not what you show; it’s what you don’t show that often has the greatest impact.  Once you overstretch the creative boundary, you slip into farce, and that’s not a good thing.  Sadly, the film does suffer once in a while due to this.

However, we’re talking new names (at least to me) here, and let me tell you, there are also times when the work is astonishing.  While as a whole this film isn’t likely to set the world on fire, it signals the arrival of a mountain of real talent that I’m eager to see more of.  During these times when mainstream Hollywood is being blasted for its sterile genre offerings, isn’t it good to know young filmmakers are toiling away to learn their craft, and to exploit what beloved genre fans want?

So, while “Kraftverk 3714” isn’t perfect, it certainly signals the making of something great.  Let’s hope these filmmakers move on to bigger and better things.  Tame some of their eagerness, tighten the script, grab a good editor (it’s about the story you want to tell folks, not the SFX), and you would have something not good, but brilliant.  I expect big things from these people in the future. 

In the mean time, why not spend some time with “Kraftverk 3714”?  With something for every genre fan, it’s sure to entertain, and you can certainly do a lot worse.  If you think the genre is in something of a decline, you’re probably looking in the wrong places, “Kraftverk 3714” proves that European cinema, and yes non-English speaking cinema, is taking on the role of leadership.  Good on them!

SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:

- Deleted scenes (33 min)
- Behind the scenes (30 min)
- Caspar's Magic Show (6 min)
- To The Sea - Short film (18 min)
- In The Corridors - Short film (6 min)
- Commentary
 

Editors note: This DVD will contain the above supplemental material.  Review source was from a DVD screener, excluding noted supplements.
 

RATING:
VIDEO: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen 1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed CinemaNo Skull - Severed Cinema
AUDIO: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo - Swedish 1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed CinemaNo Skull - Severed CinemaNo Skull - Severed Cinema

 

Kraftverk 3714 - "Grab"

Kraftverk 3714 - "An alien is in my house!"

Kraftverk 3714 - "There's a problem with my face"

Kraftverk 3714

Kraftverk 3714

Kraftverk 3714

Kraftverk 3714 - "Flaming Hands"

Kraftverk 3714

Kraftverk 3714 - "Glorious Wound"

Kraftverk 3714

Kraftverk 3714 - "Aaahhhhhhh"

Kraftverk 3714 - "Another Alien"

Kraftverk 3714

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

 
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