Film Review: Re-evolution

Made on a shoestring budget, Re-evolution’s slick looks and strong performances make it an effective action-thriller with a philosophical edge.

This début feature from David Sousa Moreau is a real one-man show, with him credited as writer, director, a co-producer and an executive producer, production designer, co-cinematographer, co-editor, stunt coordinator and the guy behind the special and digital effects as well. Even more remarkable is that this was made on a budget of 5977 euros, which is mentioned in the opening credits, with 4338 euros going towards “taxes and administrative obligations” and everything else executed on a net budget of 1639 euros, thanks to the huge contribution of his long-suffering friends and family.

It’s quite a claim and similar to the improbably small sum that Robert Rodriguez supposedly used to make his first film El Mariachi (which also prided itself on being so penny-pinching), and yet this actually seems to be pretty much the truth and amazing, when you consider that the thing appears to have been produced with finances running to several million euros. In other words, it never once looks cheap.

An exposition-filled introductory montage goes on too long but is nevertheless impressive. Four Spanish men are studied and united by their squashing by ‘The System’: Doni (Leandro Rivera) half-quits and is half-fired from his job (he hates his “photocopied days”) and freaks out in his car (a bit like Michael Douglas in Falling Down); David (Fele Martinez looking like Gary Oldman in chameleon mode) is a bankrupt and mocked TV producer; dispirited cop Max (familiar player Hovik Keuchkerian) is depressed about being unable to save anyone (including himself); and hacker Jack (Gorka Otxoa) has been locked up before and is willing to be so again for the right reason.

Sidestepping any potential diversion about reclaiming their masculinity (this is concerned with utopian ideals and not what it is to be a modern man), the quartet get together to discuss big ideas about handing government back to the population. Unlike the physical overthrow of V For Vendetta or the violence of Fight Club, however, they devise ATLAS, a software program designed to create an online global community that will effectively replace the world’s governments.

A chronologically tricky narrative hints at the four’s individual fates, and how harshly the world’s governments will strike back at these ‘cyber-terrorists’. The strong performances and Moreau’s very slick, budget-belying handling keep you watching and wondering what will happen when ATLAS hits. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Surely a Hollywood remake will be on the way here, although it would be far more expensive, rather less scathing and considerably blokier too.

Rated E18+. Re-evolution is part of this year’s Spanish Film Festival. All details: spanishfilmfestival.com and palacenova.com.au

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