Graphic Design & Illustration

Art Blog

A blog by illustrator and designer, Bryan E. West. This blog will focus on my artwork as well as my thoughts about art & culture.

Movie Recommendation: City of Ember


City of Ember(2008) - Gil Kenan

Set in the distant future, all humans have been forced to live in an underground city following some cataclysmic event. The time has come to return to the surface but miscommunication, corruption, and indifference have kept society underground. Their underground city is falling apart and the only hope is to leave the comfort of the only home they have known for generations. This children's(?) film about impending doom and the potential extinction of all mankind was a financial disaster and remains tragically underseen. The message for young viewers seems to be that you can’t rely on the institutions designed to protect you when you are starring down total annihilation. Governments become fat and corrupt, your peers become selfish, and even your well-intentioned parents may be too afraid of losing you to empower you to save yourself. Things ARE bad but nothing is going to get any better unless you MAKE it better. A harsh message, and one that maybe 2008 America wasn’t ready for, but this remains of the most relevant sci-fi movies of the last couple of decades. The movie looks beautiful, the set design and cinematography create a vibe similar to Jeunet and Caro’s City of Lost Children or Gilliam’s Brazil, and the cast is INSANE. The supporting cast consists of Toby Jones, Mary Kay Place, Martin Landau, Tim Robbins, and Bill Murray who said in an interview promoting the film that it was “no kidding, one of the best films I’ve ever been a part of”. The supporting cast is amazing, but the film rests on the shoulders of two then-unknown actors Harry Treadaway and Saoirse Ronan who manage to carry the film. This is one that I was sure would grow in cult status, and I feel like it still hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves.  

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